2019 Austin MotoGP Fast Notes: Jump Starts, Winning Ways, A Tight Championship, And Outstanding Team Managers

Jump starts

Have Race Direction suddenly decided to have a crackdown on jump starts? After a long period without a single jump start, we suddenly have three in two races. Look at the video, and it's clear the reason Race Direction issued two more penalties for jump starts is because two riders moved on the grid in Austin. A random statistical distribution tends to be lumpy, not smooth, and so random events look like they are clustered together. And at the point of the race where the riders are most intensely focused, occasionally mistakes will occur. Sometimes even simultaneously.

The two culprits in Austin were Joan Mir and Maverick Viñales. Mir's infraction was the smallest, barely moving and then almost coming to a stop. He was quietly seething after the race, angry at a penalty he felt he didn't deserve, and at the disproportionate nature of the penalty for the tiniest infraction in which he didn't gain an advantage, like Cal Crutchlow in Argentina. "It ruined my race," the Suzuki Ecstar rider said. "All the weekend for this. It ruined my whole weekend. When I see my lap times every lap and the pace that I had, it makes me even more angry because sincerely we had today a great pace to fight for the podium or top five, sure."

Would Joan Mir have been in the fight for the podium? Looking at his pace, the podium would have been optimistic. He was running 2'05s and 2'06s, which would have put him somewhere around sixth, seventh, eighth. But that would have been a very strong result for a rookie who is starting to come good, on a bike which, as Alex Rins demonstrated at COTA, is capable of winning.

Maverick's mistakes

Maverick Viñales owned up to his false start. "We were so close to make a good start, and on the start I just put full gas. First two or three seconds okay, and in the last moment start to move. I didn’t release the clutch, nothing," he said. A simple case of the clutch dragging and creating some small forward motion. "The good point at least I overtake some riders in the start," he joked, after being criticized for being a poor starter.

Viñales also believed his pace was good enough to be in the fight at the front. And the ease with which he banged out 2'04s and low 2'05s suggests that he was correct. That would have put him with Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi. Two Yamahas on the podium would have been quite the turnaround from last year.

Though Viñales owned up to the jump start, he also made a couple of capital mistakes. The most obvious one was running through the Long Lap Penalty lane, before entering for a ride through. Viñales had been caught out after the discussion among the riders in the Safety Commission about alternative penalties for a jump start which wasn't blatant. The Long Lap was one penalty discussed instead of a ride through, but it was just an informal discussion, with no rule change applied. (As Cal Crutchlow pointed out, it would hardly be fair if he had been punished with a ride through at Argentina, and then the Grand Prix Commission had changed the penalty after Argentina, giving Rins and Mir much less severe penalties). "It was just that I misunderstand. It was all my fault," Viñales said.

This is a recurrent problem among some riders. They only focus on the rules they absolutely need to know, and are often not even aware of the precise details of those rules. That can cause confusion, as it did for Viñales. But they have no one but themselves to blame for that: with MotoGP as tight and as close as it is, every detail counts. Riders (and teams) can no longer afford to make those sort of silly mistakes. Viñales needs to be 100% certain of the fixed penalty for a jump start before he lines up on the grid. Being confused about that is a strike against him.

This error is compounded by Viñales' mistake at the start. There is a simple way to prevent the bike creeping forward due to clutch drag: keep your foot on the back brake at the start.

Rins is in the hunt

Alex Rins took Suzuki's first win in MotoGP since Maverick Viñales at Silverstone in 2016, and was also the first new winner in the series since the same result. Rins was helped by the fact that Marc Márquez crashed out, of course, something we will come to later. But there is no doubt that the Suzuki has made a massive step forward in the past two years. And Alex Rins has shown signs of being able to compete at the front of each race, and even for the championship. "Like I already explained in Qatar, I think Suzuki and Rins will fight for the championship," Andrea Dovizioso said after the race. Austin was confirmation of that.

The competitiveness of the Suzuki is the result of hard working putting together the right pieces of the puzzle, Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio explained. "We pay a lot of attention on selecting the parts. We develop different parts and different things and the job is to select properly the parts, to really choose what gives you an advantage, what gives you the improvement. Maybe a new chassis comes, automatically it's not better. You have to evaluate deeply. A new engine comes, is it better or not? New swing arm, better or not? New suspension, better or not?"

For Brivio, the championship is not yet the focus. "I think we have to think race by race and then see what happens, then if we work and don’t make so many mistakes maybe at the end of the year when the line close maybe we might have some good position. The championship is a long way and we know there are very strong riders that are fighting for the championship in the last two or three years and they will get back in Jerez, once we go in Europe they will be very strong. But we are there, why not? We try to do our best."

Márquez finds a way to beat himself

Did Alex Rins owe his win to the fact that Marc Márquez crashed out? Perhaps. Then again, you might say that Marc Márquez crashed out because of the pressure he felt coming from the riders behind, including Rins, Valentino Rossi, Jack Miller. Each year at Austin, Márquez' advantage dwindles some small fraction. Each year, that makes it harder to win in Austin. This was the year his streak came to an end.

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Total votes: 48
Total votes: 17

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Comments

The problem with using the rear brake at the start, is you then have to pull your left foot up to shift. When I raced I always had my right foot on the ground and my left in place to shift to 2nd. Of course this could be ameliorated by using either the front brake or a left side thumb or otherwise brake, but the hands are busy enough.

Total votes: 21

I seriously doubt any of the GP riders uses upshift to go to higher gears, because that way you can't shift up when leaned over to the left.

Total votes: 14

Probably mainly a personal preference, but it seems like the MotoGP grid is half and half.  Marquez starts with his right foot on the peg and left foot on the ground.  I've always started with my right foot on the peg in case of accidental wheelies.  

Total votes: 5

I only ride street bikes, but from on board videos it looks like MotoGP bikes pull a good 120km/h+ in first gear, much like I know my CBR can. So it'll be a couple of seconds before that left foot needs to kick the gear lever, wouldn't it? The right foot can control any wheelie then  too? Or do some riders grab second early to stop the wheelie? (I need more question marks?!)

TBH, I've always assumed most riders were sitting with the rear brake on and a jump start was just the kind of mistake that comes from trying to react as fast as possible, or a technical failure. 

Total votes: 7

Mtiberio makes a good point about foot placement, and with some of the riders being too short to touch the ground on both sides, this might represent a real change. It appears that they will have little choice in the matter if they want to avoid getting hit with this penalty.

Ive always found it curious how people get confused by all of the buttons on the bars when moving up to MotoGP. Have you noticed that this is not as much of an issue in WSBK, where these same systems exist, in almost the same exact configuration?

Wonder why that is?

I suspect that dealing with the additional 50hp in a lighter package- and trying to manage the tires- while not getting flicked to the moon is the real reason why people dont adapt well. Just a hunch.

David- do you happen to know how many times the average MotoGP rider actually pushes the buttons on the bars during a race?

Total votes: 8

It appears that Honda may have a glitch with their engine braking software. The scenario is this:

  • With the (relative) limited performance of the Michelin front tire (when compared to the previous B-Stones), everyone is using the rear tire for braking more and more.
  • A good deal of the rear braking is suppled by the Magnetti-Mareli package (using engine retardation forces), not just the rear brake caliper.
  • Any time you are slowing down you are transferring load from the rear contact patch to the front.
  • When this weight transfer is applied (via the rear tire) the resulting additional weight transfer onto the front tire contact patch is impacting front tire stability.
  • When Marc is hammering the front brake entering the turn, the rear tire is completely unloaded, and in this condition the engine braking software will not activate. The load on the front tire contact patch is pure and direct only to Marc's right hand (and he is a genius at controlling those loads).
  • As the bike tips in further, the rear tire settles and sees a positive load on the contact patch again. At which point the engine braking software will become active. This is evidently necessary to be competitive, but it also muddies up the riders control of the front tire contact patch loads. It is now a combination of what Marc is applying via the brakes, and the additional loads the engine braking system is adding (transferred from the back). Marc has no input into these additional loads.
  • It appears that Honda may have gotten their sums wrong here, and the engine braking package is too aggressive for certain situations in 2019, and is loading the front tire excessively. This echos Cal's comments after earlier testing (and since) that the latest Honda has lost some front stability under braking.
  • Whether this situation has been compounded by the (reported) additional flexibility in the Honda's swingarm is just speculation at this point (But the brilliant analysis by Simon Crafar of the chain jumping incidents and how they may be related to swingarm flex is not. Simon is a jewel!).

Everyone has commented on the lack of "Marquez Miracle Saves" so far in 2019. This may be a great example of unintended consequences. With last year's package, more of the responsibility for front end control was with the rider, and we all saw how Marc would establish the ultimate limits throughout the weekend by repeatedly stepping over the line...and then somehow pulling it all back. It seems that this year a greater share of that responsibility has been transferred to the electronics. The upside is that when it all works, the bike is brilliant and much easier on Marc's elbows. The downside is that when the electronics step over the line, it is not Marc's inputs that are calling the shots, and he (or Cal, or Jorge) is on his ear before he can say "Mierda".

We will probably never know. This is not something I would expect HRC to publicly address anytime before the Sun burns out...and maybe not even then. But look for a software patch by the next round and perhaps some rider comments about "better braking stability"...and the following message on Marc's onboard communications display.

"Look Marc, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."

PS - Watching Marc's tumble in slow motion is illuminating. Watching his post-tumble efforts to get the bike upright and running, sped up 2X, is hysterical, worthy of the best of Benny Hill.

Total votes: 40

Thanks for that. Very informative. Yes, Simon is the best pitman ever. there's not too many ex GP winners in commentary teams and the fact he knows and is mates with quite a few of riders in addition to his coaching skills adds another dimension.

Total votes: 10

Jinx. But. .. When you say : "it seems that this year a greater share of that responsability has been transferred to the electronics"  i think it's the other way round.

the electronics have finally been levelled to the lowest common denominator and are less "effective". Now they have less responsability and compensate less. Hence Cal remarks. Just a thought i have no tangible elements to back it up.

Still, that Honda is really good! 

 

Total votes: 9

I have to say I laughed out loud at the last drop (in real time), where he lay on his back for a second before getting up. If I'm not mistaken I think Marc Marquez actually did too. Or maybe it was a wry chuckle. :)

The commentators mentioned "comedy of errors" in conjunction with that incident. While you don't normally hear that in the heat of MotoGP, I think they were more right than wrong.

Total votes: 14

Is not a thumb brake the way to go to stop any rolling on the start line, I would be surprised if every rider didnt have one soon, if for no other reason than to mitigate the dragging clutch and potential start line issue. Im sure dorna must have a new person on the job of looking for this given the increased attention to it.

Total votes: 8

I did think about this, but operating a thumb brake and the clutch at the same time could be tricky. You are taking your thumb off the thumb brake and letting the clutch out with care at the same time. So for a fleeting moment, you have slightly less grip on the left bar, and that may make the bike slightly less easy to control. 

Total votes: 13

I thought about this, and the best I can come up with is that there could be an interlock between the clutch lever and a "hole shot" device locking the thumb brake (at least they are closely located). Apply the thumb brake, engage the hole shot device, when clutch lever is released (let out), the rear brake releases. Please send checks to...

Total votes: 13

I was thinking the same thing could be achieved without even the holeshot device.  Just have a thumb switch such that, when you press the switch in and pull the clutch, the brake stays engaged.  The only issue would be fine tuning it to ensure that the brake was completely released as soon as the clutch was engaged.

Total votes: 4

I think the primary explanation is Marquez just overcooked that corner. Loving as usual the great contribution Jinx. Could be a factor, and doubt as cause. Marquez not seeing his mistake is ok. Perhaps promising for another even. He rolls a few too many dice relative to what is optimal. Fantastic, but an error.

Perhaps our Alien equation was predicated upon a handful of bikes w the factory exclusive electronics? They were astronauts all along? This was a human mistake. Lorenzo? So human he couldn't even bear to participate in the race. On a factory Honda. He is the rider the most sensitive to conditions I can remember...a "good conditions specialist." Human. Rossi is learning that he gets to sit somewhere besides the middle seat at pressers. And looks very human in doing so.

Good riddance last era. Embracing this one. FOUR manufacturers can win a race right now. All of those but Suzuki have excellent bikes in the hands of independent teams run by humans (Yamaha, better late than never eh?). Normal blokes can do the business. Thank heavens! Err, Earth!?

---

Looking like we get to put an end to the jumpstart stuff soon. As we did the tire cooler aero. I believe the riders with minute non-clutch movement that they subjectively don't notice it at the time. But they need to. It is frustrating!
What a truly enjoyable race!
EUROPE. Long 2 weeks here.

Total votes: 21

No real mystery. The Honda has a short wheelbase (relative to the Ducati certainly). Add to that its strength is a weakness on a bumpy track. Just that simple.

Total votes: 11

Very funny D.E."Jack Attack and that second Ducati seat" after the debacle at Qatar regarding the seat coming adrift on JackAssen's Gp19, ha ha. Miller could have had a few more points if, but, shoulda, coulda... that's racing.

Jack's win at the cathedral of speed was in 2016 wasn't it?

Jack Miller does seem to be happier than Petrucci & number 43 is only one point behind in the chip. 3 ducs in the top six.

Jerez, bring it on!

Total votes: 9

"Jack, it may have been premature to get the seat from Petrucci's garage? And it isn't literal mate. Stay at it and the whole bike and red garage is yours."

Total votes: 11

Viñales error may have been compounded by his team.  Dorna feed showed a replay that his team had initially put on his board “penalty”, then changed it to “ride through” on the next lap after Viñales had taken the long lap.  It would be fair to assume that he may have been confused by that message.

Total votes: 18

What Jack was upto in Qatar throwing his seat off the bike, as David so eloquently said "Jack attack, and that second Ducati seat".  Which was Jack saying "this is not MY seat, my seat is a factory seat".  I'll get me coat :-)

Total votes: 10

My suspicions are that Honda has a gearbox\clutch issue, two chains de-railled (or is it three?) , two crashes in braking, The no1 way of improving lap times these days is all in rear wheel slowing, Listening to Marquez in slow mo I can hear the engine stuttering, seemed like he was pushed on so he had to use more front brake with the crash being the result, Crutchlow the same crash really. So short coupled bike high engine braking strategy, rear wheel in the air, ECU trying to compensate = push on into corner.  the chain issues may be related to how the pre engaged gearbox releases the next gear after a corner (and related to whats happening on corner entry), just thoughts here - ?!!

 

Total votes: 17

<p>I thought I saw Marc&#39;s front wheel locking under braking going into the corner he fell at. Also the same for Rossi at the same corner and running wide underneath Rins.</p>

Total votes: 4

The best sports journalism in the world with the best reader commentary, looking at you Jinx and Motoshrink. I do hope that everyone is enjoying this MotoGP era, because it is absolutely brilliant - we are watching established riders who are all extremenly admirable and we are watching a group of stellar younger riders learn and express their own competitive character. It seems like my expectations are exceeded in every round.

My 'sliding doors' question is this : How well might Zarco have done on a Suzuki?

Total votes: 15

...except I am wrong and Jinx/Oldboyrgv are right. Jorge had a mechanical too then?! Wow, ok. (Sorry Jorge! But what was it? Oddly vague). And chain/sprocket concern isn't just from the stress of COTA conditions, since in happened round 2 as well in practice.

Apologies for my error.

Hoping to not make another by not parsing front end feel/engine braking vs chain jump/sprockets breaking? I think we could rule out swingarm flex fairly easily, just seems more an outlier. Honda just did a significant change in engine power that electronics need to deal with, but that is more re drive out than braking, which as Jinx says is strategy. Tough to fathom that Honda would err towards electronics pushing a front end when the hallmark of these michelins is doing just that until the first tire drop off. And Marc's crash was after that, when the front/rear michelin balance gets sweet. Trying Occam's razor one more time, could Marc have just over heated his front too? Having trouble so far with engine braking strategy breaking sprockets, deferring to the thinky people. Marc did say just this after the race:
"It has been six amazing years here, but today, I did a big mistake. Just when I arrive to the corner. I said sorry to the team, from here I say sorry to the fans, because it was my mistake."

Crutchlow re Sunday - "I don't think I went in there too fast because I braked in the normal place and with my normal line and corner entry but the bike snapped on braking and when the rear comes round suddenly you lock the front because the pressure is on. Without the wind de-acceleration the stopping effect on our bike is not enough at the moment and we need to improve that, whether by setting or in other areas. It is disappointing to end this way but our bike is working well...Here today for some reason in the braking zones I was not decelerating enough. That's why a lot of the time you saw me out of the slipstream in the braking zone especially into turn twelve or turn one....The bike doesn't turn and in the braking zone we don't decelerate enough. So we have to squeeze the brake harder and for longer. At the moment our bike is really unstable in the braking for one reason or another and we need to improve that. Look at the bike in the braking zone: it’s snapping around all over the place and evidently when it happens and it grips you cannot keep control of the brake lever."

Jorge isn't floating his rear off the ground so much btw, and still had the chain/sprocket fail? He said that "it was something different" re a problem, can't tell what he is talking about. It looks as though he is indicating that it was NOT the chain and sprocket. The bumps sure were stressing them though. But Marc had the failure at Argentina too. Riders have said that front end feel is worse on this Honda than last yr. Re engine braking strategy, Lorenzo said yesterday "We have too much inertia with the new bike, and we need to work on that, to make the bike easier to stop." - If this is the one thing Lorenzo DID say about Sunday, then is this the problem they are referring to vaguely?

Jinx and Hal, this is SUCH good stuff. Still not sure on front end feel. Breaking sprockets too though? Could well be eh? Bring in the tech smart people, there are several engineers and mechanics around here. I think we may be chasing a red herrring. And unnecessarily converging 1)poor front end feel on the new Honda, 2) Marquez just plain making a mistake over cooking T12 and throwing away his sure win, and 3) a weird sprocket breaking situation. Are you sure these converge?

* Loss of the "piggy back" secondary electronics bit happened since last year, impacting Honda primarily (not Ducati, assuming less significant for Yamaha and/or that their electronics were so far off 2018 that this isn't apparent amongst bigger factors) - no one has mentioned seeing evidence of this yet have they? The Honda drag race motor matching Ducati stole the show. Is not having this a factor to consider as well here?

(Zarco on a Suzuki would be fantastic! And a rivalry w Rins on the bike would have been SO preferable to a contract snub conflict. Jorge too on Suzuki would excel. Vinales back on it would too. Great bike Suzuki! If you were an independent team with limited budget and electronics geek staff, a developing rider, which bike would you want to run?! 2 more bikes please)

Total votes: 14

I've considered subscribing for awhile but $40 annually is too much. I'd gladly do 20, even 25. Perhaps a tiered subscription if more support is needed for the regular reporting, then full subscription for the premium content like the in-depth interviews etc that have already been behind the pay wall?

Without this I'm afraid to say that despite the excellence of the content, traffic is probably going to be driven away rather than signing up if the regular race reports (which surely do cost money and like I say I really do want to support but at a more reasonable level) are now pay content.

Total votes: 10

This is not the regular race report. This is a quick summary of the main points worthy of consideration. The regular race report will be up later this week, when I get home. Those who pay get a lot early, those who don't pay for whatever reason have to wait.

Pricing a product is always difficult. It will always be too expensive for some, while others will regard it as cheap. $39.95 is less than an iced pumpkin spice frappuccino a month. I am always open to suggestions for alternatives to just a yearly payment. 

Total votes: 14

Full access to this site is a bargain, mate, and the fact that it also shields me from the horrors of pumpkin spiced frappuccinos is a huge bonus.

But perhaps a change in the title to clearly delineate the two products (Quick Summary vs. Full Race Report)? Maybe "Subscriber Austin MotoGP Flash Report" (or whatever you think would be best, up to and including telling me to sod off). The "2019" is somewhat redundant and could be ditched to keep the title length reasonable. I think the branding may be more of an issue than the business model.

Just my two-cents. Cheers.

Total votes: 12

I’m firmly in the “its well worth it” camp. Your site is a lifeline in the States. 

Total votes: 15

Best site on the subject there is I reckon. And well worth subscription.

Total votes: 5

...several people saying it's worth it. Sure. I expected that and I get it. I'm just saying that a) this is the first time I've seen a "quick summary of the main points worthy of consideration" behind the pay wall. Maybe I'm wrong there, which is fine. But, I'm also suggesting that you'll probably get a lot more subscribers if the rate is more reasonable; my guess would be very likely enough to more than make up the difference.

Total votes: 1

The 'fast notes' are a new addition, something extra rather than something less.  This was done because the race analysis is becoming more and more in depth and as such tands to land days after the race has run.  David has to give the subscribers the odd carrot to encourage them to contribute, in my opinon he would be quite justified in making the fast notes free and holding the analysis over for the subscribers.

I sort of agree that subscribing is not strictly worth the money, but only because the best stuff is free anyhow.  I enjoy the lack of ads, and occasionally look at the high res shots, but it's the analysis of practice, qualifying and the race I most enjoy and that is all free.  I mainly subscribe to support David's efforts in the understanding that if he were to chuck it in, my enjoyment of MotoGP would be diminished by more than $40 worth.

Total votes: 10

The Subscription is Worth it for me as if David's Site were not there - I'd Miss All the Insight & the Inside Stories.

But ... Would prefer the Race Reports to be Up Quicker though & Save All The Extra Details for A "Mutterings" Article maybe later on in the week.

This would give us all something relevant to read right after the race & then have the extra in-depth nuggets gleaned by David to read later on in the week or the next week thus keeping us all hooked till the next race.

Cheers,

Total votes: 2

I agree, thus far this year the full report is not landing til Friday in Oz.  To me that is "print timeframe" and I've already 'moved on' by Friday, it's sort of out of my consciousness.  He evidently travelled to the COTA race, so is probably on the way home, deeply pondering while transiting airports, madly hammering at the keyboard stuffed into cattle class on a trans-Atlantic flight, anxious to get home.  But yeah, as a paying customer, I'd rather see the analysis by Tuesday or Wednesday at latest, allowing for further ponderings later in the week or on the weekend if it's an off-weekend.  But the analysis is free anyway, so I'm not really paying for it and thus have no right to complain.  ;)

Total votes: 2

reasonable

Total votes: 1

Around 30 years ago my thing was mountaineering and there was this fabulous monthly magazine for those who wanted intelligent insight and commentary.  It wasn't particularly expensive, but too many people borrowed others copies or read the copy in the cafe, and it folded. So we lost it altogether.

That's my principal reason for subscribing here, so we don't lose it. I don't read everything, I even find some stuff a bit too specialist for me, but I really enjoy the commentary arising from a great race or major happening and believe the main reason the commentary is so good - informed, respectful, funny and never trolling - is because of David's  'production values', where he sets out the story in a way that invites that kind of commentary. Not everyone does that, probably, I imagine, because editors push reporters to focus on the sensational and provoke rabid (boring) response.

I think this site is worth paying for and the cost is pretty small in the scheme of things. I see the subscriber goodies as a small, considerate thank you,  not the main content, and like it that way.

Total votes: 7

... I've paid more for 2 hours of (car) parking in a downtown Boston parking garage.  Only once.  Fortunately, I can get 24 hours of downtown indoor parking for my bike for $10 should I need it.

I have to mention the high quality of the comments on these threads as another reason I don't balk at this price.  I'm still new to the sport and a road rider (1 track day does not make me a track maven.)  The site attracts exceptionally insightful and experienced readers/posts.  Quiality work attracts quality comments.

Lastly, David and his crew (of writers, photographers, et al) are IN it...and they're in places I haven't been able to get to (and they're there for days at a time.)  They have access to personnel I won't have access to in addition to experience I haven't been able to accumulate.  

Alternative to $39.95/year: $4.95/month (as I assume monthly readers will drop their subscription when the formal racing season ends.)

Total votes: 2

Marc certainly trapped himself LBW trying to kite another one for six. Jump starts and technology are like 'hawkeye' in cricket. The tech is being referred to more requently and the umpire can be overuled by the 3rd umpire with the tech at his disposal to review. Catches, stumpings, exceeding track limits, overstepping and blah. Reffing sport in any discipline has gone tech crazy. Even in athletics. I wonder how long it will be before the blokes are subject to inherited genetic advantage tests as applicable to bike racing. In my opinion, the penalty does not fit the crime. Dock the technologically proved 'jump starter' a 5 second penalty post chequred flag and inform him via telemetary and huge circuit screens to go to box or podium accordingly on the slow down lap.

Big winners were Rins, Rossi and Dovi. Rider of the day for me was Matia Pasini. Crikey, the bloke has never even been on a 765cc Triumph. Pol, aside, KTM are proving useless. In spite of having 2 of the best riders on the grid in M2 (Binder and Martin). Zarco...ditto in GP. I like the fact that the title is so close. Dovi road a superb strategic race after his dismal qualy plan at a circuit he hates. Running medium and medium like his main challengers was very smart. Almost got him the podium which he said would be as good as a win prior FP1. Vinales? Rossi has got him 'under clutch' for sure. Franco Morbidelli put together a great race... Jack Miller to replace Petrux? Many races to tell! Compare Miller to Petrux and Franco to Maverick...Ducati/Yamaha rider points standing comparisons at this stage. Not much to pick.

Off on a tangent for sure. Alvaro Bautista. 250rpm did not cut his legs off in Assen on a 7degree surface. What now ? Other Ducati's nowhere! After that one, I'm convinced the R bike is good, but #19 is the difference, much like #27 on the 800 GP Ducati back then. Assen race 2, that was the race of the weekend.

Total votes: 10

I'll admit to not being a Crutchlow fan, but he has had better pace this year than I like to admit.   He's been the best of the rest Honda.  Another race with Marquez in a gravel trap and it wouldn't be surprising to see him on the top step.

A bit of patience might've did him some good; he looked out of sorts on the front tire.  He said that he looked like a madman on the brakes, but that was Honda's strongest point.  Even if that's true, a bit of patience would've seem to be in order.  He couldn't seriously have expected to run down Marquez, so what was the point of all that?

Total votes: 8

We may only be 3 races in but i think MV has seriously hampered his chances of getting into the title chase this year. You have to wonder if Lin Jarvis is looking closer at Morbidelli. Rossi is still the factory Yamaha saviour at the moment!

Total votes: 9

I wonder how many lusty glances he shoots at the Suzuki garage nowadays.

Total votes: 5

New rules for jump starts could go like this:

If a rider moves yet stops before the lights have gone out and has not crossed the white line of their starting position then no penalty. If a rider is moving forward when the lights go out yet has not crossed the white line of their starting position then they are given a long-lap penalty. If a rider moves forward and has crossed the white line of their starting position by the time the lights go out (like Lorenzo years ago) then they are given a ride through penalty whether or not they halt their progress. This could be implemented at the beginning of the 2020 season.

Total votes: 1

The reason the jump start rule is so strict is that it can create numerous problems.  It is not uncommon for one rider jump starting (properly, not the slight roll of CC) to trigger others behind to also jump start.  If there is no penalty for jumping and stopping, then that can be used as a tool to try to trick other riders into a reactive jump start.  No, the rule is fine as is, leave it alone.  A few penalties for slight infractions, as we've seen recently, will have everyone paying very close attention to their starting procedure and will sort it out in short order.

Total votes: 6

.. leave well enough alone because, if there are new rules for circumstances that may occur at a start, we could see races being decided as soon as the lights go out.

Total votes: 2

a. He need not. We can all see that after years of pushing so hard, the corner entrance speed he has developed is superior.

b. Freshly repaired shoulder. Ligaments don't heal around pinned repairs so quickly. This was evidenced by his response to a rough ride over the bumps at Austin. He'll be nursing that for a year or two.

Total votes: 1