Great occasions deserve great celebrations. Running a series like grand prix motorcycle racing, Dorna has a lot, but not everything in their control. What they did have in their control was the timing of the 1000th grand prix, and the choice of which circuit it would be held at. A massive number like 1000 needs a grand stage, so holding it at Le Mans, with its packed grandstands, seems like a good idea. If the Finnish Grand Prix at the KymiRing hadn't been canceled, then it would have been at Jerez. That would have worked too.
The stage was perfect. The 2023 French Grand Prix at Le Mans saw the largest ever attendance of the MotoGP era: a total of 278,805 spectators counted over four days. And on Sunday, the biggest ever crowd for a MotoGP event at Le Mans: 116,692 spectators packed the grandstands, the grounds, and every spare scrap of space.
Those are spectacular numbers. 116,000 is almost certain to be the biggest crowd of 2023, and is bigger than any crowd going back a decade or more. Which brings me to a couple of gripes with attendance figures. Firstly, the crowd numbers at Le Mans are almost certainly legitimate: that looked like 116,000 people packed the grounds surrounding four kilometers of asphalt.
Lies, damned lies, and attendance figures
But MotoGP journalists are always wary of attendance figures, after the official attendance figures at Jerez dropped from 122,000 in 2015 to 63,000 in 2016, despite the crowds looking pretty much identical to people who have attended a lot of races there. Whatever the real number of fans were at Jerez – and 2023 was the busiest it has been in years, despite official figures of 78,000 – it is impossible to see how the crowd could have halved between 2015 and 2016.
Secondly, and this is more of a pet peeve than anything else, that number of 278,805 spectators over four days? There's a lot of double counting going on there. There is certainly a nonzero number of fans who will turn up on a Friday or a Saturday, then head home to watch the Sunday race on TV. I have done that myself. But the overwhelming majority of the 58,894 who attended on Friday were among the 88,319 who were at the track on Saturday. And also among the 116,692 where packed the circuit on Sunday.
Don't get me wrong, those are genuinely astonishing numbers. The Saturday crowd at Le Mans was bigger than the Sunday attendance at all but five races in 2022 (and one of those, Sepang, was only larger by 300 fans). But 280,000 individuals did not attend the Le Mans circuit. Perhaps as many as 120,000 did (again, a genuinely breathtaking number of paying fans), but the multi-day attendance figures flatter to deceive. This practice is not unique to MotoGP – it is pretty much standard industry practice for multi-day events – but to someone as badly afflicted by the pedantry gene as I am, it is deeply irritating.
Putting that aside, Le Mans is the most popular MotoGP round by a comfortable margin. What is the secret to its success? The answer is glaringly obvious when you think about it. Firstly, ticket prices are affordable: €98 got you three-day general admission. The same ticket at the Sachsenring will set you back €120, at Assen €122 (or €99 if you buy directly from the circuit), €160 at Mugello, or £100 (roughly €115) for Silverstone.
Secondly, that €98 general admission ticket for Le Mans is incredible value for money. The entertainment at Le Mans is pretty much nonstop, to the point where the racing almost becomes a sideshow. There are fairground rides, bands, fan track laps, stunt shows, and a million other things to do. While Neil Morrison and Adam Wheeler were recording the Paddock Pass Podcast notes show, Neil paused briefly to announce that a tightrope walker had suddenly appeared outside the media center window on a tightrope strung between the two grandstands across the main straight. The fans were treated to another tightrope show just before the start of the Sunday race. One year, my work of an evening was disturbed by the sound of a rocket-powered drag car doing runs up the main straight.
It helps, of course, that France has two riders on the MotoGP grid, one of whom is a MotoGP champion, the other a former Moto2 champion. But even without Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco, Le Mans was drawing crowds of over 90,000. Le Mans serves as a template for Assen, for example, where the circuit is working with local and regional authorities to expand the already impressive list of activities surrounding the Dutch TT MotoGP race. No wonder, then, that Assen, like Le Mans draws a crowd of over 100,000 each year.
That was the stage upon which Dorna chose to set its 1000th grand prix. And MotoGP delivered: in an exhilarating race of attrition, there was action and excitement all the way to the end. The racing is the one thing that Dorna does not control directly, though the changes to the rules over the past 15 years have gradually leveled the performance of the bikes and raised the quality of the riders. That paid off in spades at Le Mans.
So much happened that I am going to have to spread this out over a number of days. With a four-week gap between Le Mans and Mugello, there is time to consider things more carefully, and in more depth. So I will get to topics such as Bagnaia vs Viñales, the Alex Marquez penalty (no, not for that crash, for the first-lap incident), how a switch of medical service providers affected the race, and much more besides later in the week.
But first, to the winner. Marco Bezzecchi took his second grand prix victory of 2023, and second win of his MotoGP career on Sunday at Le Mans. In doing so, he closed the gap to championship leader Pecco Bagnaia by just a single point, now with 93 points to Bagnaia's 94. They both have two Sunday victories, Bagnaia at Portimão and Jerez, Bezzecchi in Argentina and Le Mans, the difference being that Bagnaia has two wins in the Saturday sprint races.
Perhaps the biggest difference, however, is that Bagnaia has three zero scores – two DNFs in Austin and Le Mans, and a 16th place at Termas de Rio Hondo after crashing out of the race – to Bezzecchi's two DNFs.
Bezzecchi's victory at Le Mans was impressive. His start was adequate, good enough to put him in with the leading group of six or seven riders in the opening laps. Bezzecchi profited from the attrition ahead of him, the collision between Pecco Bagnaia and Maverick Viñales moving him up to fourth. Teammate Luca Marini lost the front on the exit of the chicane, allowing him through and able to avoid the horrific crash between Marini and Alex Marquez, from which both luckily emerged almost unscathed.
With Marc Marquez doing everything he could to attack Jack Miller, Bezzecchi closed the leading pair down, while Jorge Martin caught up from behind, passing Bezzecchi and Marquez to get onto the tail of Miller. Bezzecchi pushed Marquez wide at Garage Vert after missing a braking point, and was forced to give the position back by the FIM Stewards – for once, a good decision which seemed fair to both onlookers and those involved.
Getting it right
"First of all, I agree with the penalty," Bezzecchi told the press conference after the race. "I expected that because honestly I didn’t want to pass, but I made a mistake in braking. I braked just three meters later, and once I saw that I was not going to stop, I had to go to the inside to not hit Marc in his back. So, I pushed him wide and I also went outside the curb. I expected the penalty and I was already with my mind saying for sure in one or two laps I have to drop the position."
It didn't make much difference. Bezzecchi was up to speed and on a charge. He was past Jorge Martin and into second at the Dunlop Chicane, then received the message to drop a position. He let Martin through between Chemin aux Boeufs and 'S' Bleus, but the front four were by now very close. Bezzecchi was harrying Martin again by the time they hit the Dunlop Chicane, enough for Martin to run a fraction wide and allow Bezzecchi through. He made short work of Jack Miller at the Dunlop Chicane on the next lap, and was away to the races.
Bezzecchi had a gap of over a second within two laps, and from there, there was no one who could follow his pace. By the end, the Mooney VR46 rider had a gap of over four seconds. It was an incredibly comfortable win.
The key for Bezzecchi had been sticking close to the front group from the start. He knew he had the pace, but he couldn't afford to let anyone get away. "Honestly this morning I didn’t expect to have this kind of race," the Italian told the press conference, "but already yesterday I felt very good on the bike. I knew that with a good start I could make something more. Obviously I didn’t expect a win, but anyway a good race."
Bezzecchi's biggest concern was that he didn't want to get stuck behind other bikes for too long. "Today when I started, I saw that I was faster than the guys in front of me. I was a bit afraid for the front tire temperature, because with the soft, I was a bit on the limit for my riding style. But I was able to overtake them." That had been the key to victory, he explained. "Once I got in the lead, I was able to put a good pace. I was feeling very well with my bike and I was able to escape lap by lap always a bit more. Very, very happy for this. Also, with a lot of crowd and in the dry finally, it was okay."
That last comment, taking a win in the dry, was important. His previous victory had come in the wet at Argentina, which riders still take as extenuating circumstances. A win in the dry means you were just plain better than everyone else. And on Sunday, that was definitely true of Bezzecchi.
Does this mean that Marco Bezzecchi is now a title contender? "It’s good to be close to Pecco for the moment, but honestly I’m still not thinking about the championship," Bezzecchi said. "First of all, because we saw that having the sprint and the big GP in the same weekend it’s very easy to lose everything very quick. So, I just want to continue like this, thinking about weekend by weekend, race by race, enjoy with the bike and with my guys that are fantastic."
Bezzecchi has a point. The sprint race has complicated the championship picture, but even without that, the championship picture looks a lot like last year. Pecco Bagnaia wrapped up the 2022 title with a total of just 265 points. Prior to the pandemic, titles were won with 300 points or more. But more equal machinery and a wider spread of talent have made for much lower point scores.
Pecco Bagnaia leads the championship with 94 points. That looks respectable until you glance at the Moto2 championship, where Tony Arbolino leads with 99 points after taking an impressive win ahead of Filip Salac and Alonso Lopez.
The unspoken difference here is that Moto2 doesn't have a sprint race. Arbolino's haul of 99 points is out of a maximum of 125. Bagnaia's 94 points are out of a maximum of 185, five weekends where there is a maximum of 37 points on offer – 12 on Saturday, 25 on Sunday. Arbolino has almost 80% of the maximum points. Bagnaia (and Bezzecchi) have just over 50% of the available points.
Lowballing the title
Comparing this championship to previous years will get you a good sense of how low the average points tally is. After the first five races of 2015, Valentino Rossi had 102 points out of a maximum of 125. In 2016, Jorge Lorenzo had 90 out of 125, in 2018 and 2019, Marc Marquez had 95 out of 125. In 2017 Maverick Viñales had 85 out of 125, In 2021 Fabio Quartararo had 80 out of 125. Quartararo's 2021 score was still 64% of the available points.
The nearest equivalent is the 2022 championship. Fabio Quartararo led the title chase with 69 points out of a maximum of 125 last year after five races. That is still a points haul of 55%, 5% more than Bagnaia's performance in 2023.
To put it another way, there are still a numerically pleasing 555 points still on the table, if no more races are canceled (and the news out of India is that the race at the Buddh International Circuit will go ahead as planned). If Bagnaia were to carry on at this rate, scoring between 50-51% of the points on offer each weekend, then he would nab another 283 points, giving him a grand total of 377 points at the end of the year.
That is 43 points less than Marc Marquez racked up on his way to his sixth MotoGP title in 2019. And Marquez did that in a season which had 19, rather than 20 rounds, and when there were only 25 points on offer at each weekend.
Pick a rider
What conclusions are we to draw from this? That the championship is still completely wide open. With so many points on offer, so many riders capable of getting on the podium, and such a tight field, it is very hard to make a prediction.
After the fifth race of 2022, the eventual champion was in tenth place, Pecco Bagnaia 38 points behind Fabio Quartararo. In 2023, there are 12 riders within a 31% points margin of Bagnaia, as Bagnaia was to Quartararo last year. Anyone making any predictions about the outcome of this championship is either very brave, very foolish, or both.
"It's a knife edge, this championship," Jack Miller explained after the race on Sunday. "Everybody is so good, all the bikes are so competitive, if the rider is not feeling 98%, then it's a s*** day. Really, if feels like that. I can't explain it. The championship's in great form, as you've seen there's some great racing. OK, there's a lot more contacts, and there's this and that. But it's all a part of it. It's so high level. Everybody's under so much pressure. So much to take and lose. It's nice to be a part of it."
Pressure, contacts, and great racing? Much more about that tomorrow, and in the rest of the week. For now, the 1000th grand prix produced some outstanding racing, worthy of the long history of the greatest sport on earth. We are lucky to be living in such a remarkable era.
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Cheers to all
Everything has been said.
MotoGP is both close and volatile. It has been flipped on it's head in some key ways, and we are all adjusting.
Possibly contentious views to share...Race Direction is doing a good enough job in a tough time. I am very much appreciating Marc Marquez, and not just in spite of his on-track transgressions. Quarty is still an Alien. LOVING Orange this year! So very happy about that. Wow! The Supersport production class has most my interest.
Still watching every little thing w a keen eye, but on my own and off-line now. Building a lightweight bike (Ninja 400, no fairings) for kart track attack. It is fun around town too, try it! Wheelie monster sorta supermoto. Back out on the Triumph 675R, adorned it w Moto2 livery bits. Loving the snot out of 2023! Having a tough time that Bastiannini and Oliveira have gotten punted into injury, detesting shape shifters, and angry that we haven't yet gotten the 2019 front Michelin. But brilliant era this Sprint - bashing! A GAS GAS Rookie just did WHAT?!
Cheers to all
In reply to Cheers to all by Motoshrink
Collect your plaudits
Welcome back Shrink. It is good that you popped in to collect the plaudits for forecasting that KTM would make some significant progress this year. And to remind us that this Michelin front tyre business, which you had first written about two years ago, is getting a bit silly. As for Stewards/Race Direction I think you are right to indicate how difficult the context for decision making has become - however that is just one more reason that there has to be a conversation with the fans about decision making policy and why particular decisions are handed down. The whole Delphic Oracle thing is all getting pretty unacceptable to the fan base. Cheers.
In reply to Collect your plaudits by tony g
I think no matter how the…
I think no matter how the stewards explained, no matter how many replays with added graphics, slideshow presentations etc....half the room would say 'exactly !' And the other half would scream 'but what about....it's not fair !' Net result zero.
In reply to I think no matter how the… by WaveyD1974
It is better to be half satisfied than completely dissatisfied?
Cheers Wavey - That''s somewhat true - but it's also the most negative take. With clearer policy and explanations of actions and sanctions it is equally possible at least half the people would be satisfied at any one time. That would be a rather large improvement. I think that in fact the Stewards are worried that with Sprint races, and the difficulty in overtaking created with shape shitters (sic) and aero, there are increasingly nutty and dangerous moves going down and they do want less of that. I think they are concerned to avoid a really serious crash and a really awful outcome.
Of course this is speculative fan ranting from me, but this is the hill I will die on:
The Stewards job is not to be popular, but it is to create an understanding of the regulatory approach so that those regulated at least have a conscious choice of how to comply with the standards.
In reply to It is better to be half satisfied than completely dissatisfied? by tony g
Fair comment Tony. When I…
Fair comment Tony. When I suggested that half of the room would agree and half would not I should have added that I think this would happen regardless of what the stewards said. They could debrief that the tea leaves in Freddie's freshly squeezed orange told them to do it and half would agree, half would not. Maybe 40% agree, 40% disagree, 10% would point out that in Argentina Freddie had a smoothie...problems with consistency and 10% would be concerned about semantics.
But wait. MotoGP was…
MotoGP was supposed to implode and fall on its face after Rossi retired.
In reply to But wait. MotoGP was… by Mick-e
I guess kudos to Dorna for…
I guess kudos to Dorna for getting MotoGP in a position where that was not going to happen. Speaking of Rossi. He sure took a lot of flack for complaining about things like excessive wheel spin and was derided by many as being "too old to adapt". A couple of years on and many of his complaints about the Yamaha are still valid and even worse. I suppose at the time the current situation there WAS pretty unimaginable.
Might have missed it in your…
Might have missed it in your piece but parking & camping were free!
In the chequered flag programme (bt sport), Suzi Perry collared the fella from Silverstone (who was at le mans for fact finding) and put it to him about free camping & free parking! Needless to say the bloke was flustered on live tv and doing his best to get out of it. Last year i payed £16 a day for parking at shitverstone.
If I'm being honest, in my opinion French bike fans are better than us British bike fans.
In reply to Might have missed it in your… by Jarnosar
Just checked Silverstone…
Just checked Silverstone prices. £100 is indeed general admission but if you want one of the better covered stands it’s £160. We have a camper van, parking that for the weekend with hook up £350 (£100 less if no hookup). So two of us basically kiss goodbye to £700. Doesn’t include feeding yourself of course.
Fair to say inflation has been particularly high in the UK but Silverstone were racking these prices up years ago, which is why I stopped going after the washout debacle (that was 2019?).
"All together now, ..."
In addition to David's stellar reporting and analysis (this is just the start from Le Mans!?), these last 3 photos capturing the symmetry (near symphony) of riders are majestic, like poetry in motion.
Marc at the front, obviously…
Marc at the front, obviously not in 100% race shape and riding a bike that is closer to a 3 legged goat than a M/C, should be giving the rest of the paddock pause. His bike was bucking/shaking like a bull in the PBR and some how he managed, not only to stay on, but be at the front. IF, and the jury is still out on this, HRC gives him something to ride, other than a goat, hmmmm.....
I'm glad 'da stew's' didn't get involved in the two shahmozzles because they were straight up racing incidents. I was sorry to see Binder get pushed wide and not whine/complain as some others might. Gotta LUV that guy. I do remember the head of KTM saying his goal was to beat HRC and they are doing that.
Looking forward to the rest of the year.
In reply to Marc at the front, obviously… by 3B43
I read elsewhere that Alex…
I read elsewhere that Alex Marquez, as David alluded to in his article, received a three place grid penalty for "overly ambitious" riding on lap one.
In reply to Marc at the front, obviously… by 3B43
I'm sure no other riders…
I'm sure no other riders wrote MM93 off, but after this weekend with MM93 being able to stay at the front for that long, after being out for a month from injury, and on a new chassis (with only 3 days to adjust) is remarkable. There must be A LOT of settings they had to go through -ride height, suspension, swingarm position, bike length, steering head angle, etc- just to get him to feel comfortable. I'm assuming the Kalex chassis is here to stay at HRC. A few more race weekends and they should have that bike even more dialed in. The rest of the paddock should be concerned.
In reply to Marc at the front, obviously… by 3B43
Marc's bike was still…
Marc's bike was still looking like a bike no one would want to ride but it looked so much more planted than the last time he rode it.
No doubt this is just the start of the Kalex chassis, how much was Honda and how much was Kalex, who knows but maybe the next iteration will be more Kalex...
Good to see you back 'shrink, hope you won't be a stranger around here...
In reply to Marc's bike was still… by stumo
Yes, Shrink, you've been missed.
In reply to Seconded by Rob@Orewa_NZ
Please keep contributing. Love your comments.
The double counting makes sense to me. Sure, it’s not 278,000 individual people, but the effect is the same if you had the same 100k people coming both days vs a different 100k people coming each day.
It’s not necessarily about the raw number of people, it’s about trends and whether it’s higher than last year or higher than other circuits. Using consistent measurements makes the statistics easier to reason about.
In reply to Double counting by scottyreg
Also, the double counting…
Also, the double counting helps clarify total ticket sales. Since venues may require separate tickets for each day, the numbers are reflective of overall ticket sales even if they double or triple count people.
Tyre Pressures ??
David, would you please shed some light on the tyre pressure sensor situation? With all the drama that has taken place this year, the most talked about issue in preseason has gone under the radar! Cheers. R
In reply to Tyre Pressures ?? by randy_jackson40
They were supposed to start…
They were supposed to start enforcing it at Jerez but they’ve kicked the can down the road, to Mugello I think. My guess is they’ll never enforce it.
Pecco is being quoted as…
Pecco is being quoted as saying right now in MotoGP 'anyone can win' and that he thinks there should be a bigger gap between the factory and independent teams, like their used to be. I watched the video of his interview and was surprised at his position on the subject.
I have been watching MotoGP for years, and like it much better now that 'anyone can win'! I love the closeness of the competition. 'Back in the day', when one of the aliens took the lead, it often became a parade after that, and (to me) was rather boring.
Am curious if I'm in the minority here or if Pecco is?
In reply to Pecco is being quoted as… by Faitbien
I think Pecco is. Check out Herve Poncheral's opinion on Pecco's comments!
In reply to Pecco by larryt4114
I read them! I've always…
I read them! I've always like Herve (and Pecco, for that matter) and appreciate Herve's open and honest opinion. MotoGP.com posted the video of Pecco's comments on Facebook and the comments there are hugely in favor of the close competition we have now. (To be honest, I didn't see a single comment that agreed with him, but I didn't read them all - there are hundreds). Honestly, everyone seems puzzled by his remarks. I know I am.
In reply to I read them! I've always… by Faitbien
I think Peco was talking…
I think Peco was talking about the problems that come with a very close grid hurling themselves into the race knowing that the first few laps are their best and possibly only chance to make up positions. The similarity of performance coupled with aero is making passes more and more difficult. Therefore, more riders are rolling the dice when it can make a big difference because, it's their job. When a whole grid is rolling dice in close order, it gets to be bloody stupid. I think Peco was just floating an idea inspired by the past. There was no point rolling a dice to pass a rider who is significantly faster when they have zero trouble passing you back. You waste your own time too. Sprint races have amplified the problem because riders also have less time to recover from being passed.
I don't think it's at the point were nobody can pass. The races show that riders are passing. I do think that riders in Peco's position would like nice calm races being the fastest rider/bike combo. Herve is brilliant but I wouldn't trust a word he says publicly short of disaster when it comes to the health of the 'show'. It'll all be fine until it isn't. Alex Marquez sparked off a few riders into taking avoiding action mid turn. Luckily they all had room and saw it in time. On a different day or another track that might have been a different story. I guess that is always the case on lap 1 at any track but can't expect riders to like it.
Drop one position perhaps it…
Drop one position perhaps it should have been drop two... Hi Guys, something that I haven’t seen anyone touch one is Marco’s drop one place for his pass on Marc. After he passed Marc he went on to pass Jorge, then a lap or so he later received the drop one place penalty. Surely he should have had to drop behind Marc? If he hadn’t forced Marc wide to take 3rd he wouldn’t have been in a position to pass Jorge for 2nd, basically when he dropped the one position he ended back in 3rd where had been after forcing Marc wide. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have gone on to win but… Could Marc’s race have been compromised by Marco’s pass? He was in third when Marco went by dropping him to 4th & he was still in 4th after Marco completed his drop one position penalty. Thoughts? If it was reported on let me know where I can find the logic behind the penalty.
In reply to Drop one position perhaps it… by Spyker
A relevant point, and the…
A relevant point, and the rule book states that the Stewards can require a rider to drop any number of positions. However, I think it's more about the practicalities. It takes time to assess a penalty, do the paperwork (send out an email), and communicate that to the team and the rider. The rider has to then give up the position as soon as they can safely do so.
The whole process usually takes several minutes to complete, by which time the riders have completed several laps, and much can have changed on track. For example, in the case at hand, if Marc Marquez had also run off independently and lost 5 positions, would it have been fair to force Bezzecchi to wait for, say 10 seconds until Marquez comes past? The theory behind the penalty is that a rider has gained a position incorrectly, so they should be forced to give up that position. Anything beyond that starts getting more complicated (and there are better mechanisms for handling it, such as the Long Lap Penalty).
It's also instructive to know the history behind the introduction of the Long Lap Penalty. In a Moto2 race at Misano in 2014, Jonas Folger was handed a penalty for exceeding track limits, requiring him to drop a position. The problem was he was 5 seconds ahead of the group behind him, so he lost 5 seconds, and also found himself right in the middle of a massive group.
So I think this is why the drop 1 position penalty is just 1 position, not "drop behind the rider who was prejudiced when you unfairly overtook them". Because that kind of a penalty can have massive unforeseen consequences in circumstances you hadn't considered beforehand.
Thanks David I hear you re…
Thanks David I hear you re Jonas and the history of the long lap penalty etc but every case on its merits is how decent stewardship of any kind is applied. A penalty in the purist sense of the word is to restore all racers to their positions prior to the infringement. In some cases as you've stated this is not possible and then a long lap penalty is applied or if there is a particular rule like with Brad's incident when cut the turn after passing Jack. But in this case a restorative penalty could have easily been applied without hindering Marco unnecessarily and restoring Marc to 3rd and relegating Marco to 4th would have been an easily attainable outcome. I have just gone back to check the analysis by lap and I should have rewatched the incident prior to posting my comment as Marc was actually in second when he was forced wide my Marco and lost not just one but two places because of Marco's pass on him which allowed Jorge to sweep past into 2nd as Marco & Marc both ran wide. At the start of lap 7 Marc led Marco by two and a half tenths with Jorge a further three tenths back. At the start of Lap 8 Jorge led Marco by two tenths with Marc a further 4 tenths back, Zarco at the time was over two seconds behind Marc in 5th. The penalty was applied on lap 9 and if it applied correctly Marco could have easily let both Jorge & Marc by without compromising him any further. My gripe is that the stewards have all the information before them but seem to lack the astuteness required to apply penalties correctly in the spirit of racing or even further explain penalties. Marco, Jorge & Marc could have received a dash board message saying Marco must drop to 4th... why do they only tell the rider who has the penalty? In Jerez it was the same situation with Pecco... Jack had no idea Pecco had to drop a place surely letting both or all the riders involved in the penalty know is not only better but also safer? On the Alex's penalty for running Brad wide it's also a strange one, he clearly made contact with Brad, why note just give him a long lap penalty in the race it was plain as day that he made contact and be over with it. Now he's penalised post race for the next race and a 3 place grid penalty doesn't equate to a 2,5 second lap time loss that a long lap penalty would have done in the race... who knows this could have made Alex be a little further back from Luca when he saved a certain crash only to be smoked by Alex as he came upon Luca unsighted and travelling so much slower than normally... Ifs buts and maybes I know but I'm a stickler for hard, clean & fair racing... with a little spice thrown in for good measure... cannot wait to see how Marc and the KTMs go at Mugello... Will be a decent yardstick for them and how they will go at the rest of the fast flowing tracks that seem to be upon us.... Hopefully Marc & the KTMs can string some good results together over the next rounds before the summer break. If Marc has good run into the Sachsenring I will put my money on him to win the last race of the first part of the season... who knows Marc may be back in championship contention by then... there are so many riders that are in with a shot of championship this season... let's hope it stays that way until Valencia...