Buriram MotoGP Subscriber Notes: A New Generation Rising, Yamaha's Hope, Honda's Gamble, And Aprilia's Failure

We are in the middle of a major transition in MotoGP. One generation is on the verge of passing, another generation is rising, and right in the center of it all, towering over it, is Marc Márquez. The reigning champion has dominated 2019, while rivals of a variety of ages on a variety of bikes try to usurp his place.

The Thai Grand Prix illustrated this mix of generations nicely. On pole for the race sat the Young Pretender, Fabio Quartararo, 20 years of age. Alongside him, Maverick Viñales, 24, two years Márquez' junior, and the reigning champion himself. Behind them, two more 24-year-olds, Franco Morbidelli and Jack Miller, flanking the 28-year-old Danilo Petrucci.

On the third row, two veterans and a young rookie. Joan Mir, 22, sat between 40-year-old legend Valentino Rossi, and Andrea Dovizioso, at 33 years of age the only rider left who could stop Márquez from lifting his sixth MotoGP title in seven seasons in the premier class. Behind them, Alex Rins, 23, beside the Espargaro brothers, Pol, 28, and Aleix, 30.

Of the front twelve, Márquez, Viñales, Quartararo, Miller, Rins, Dovizioso, and potentially Rossi had the pace on paper for a legitimate shot at the podium. It was not inconceivable for the podium to represent a cross section of the current set of MotoGP generations. Or for Rossi to be sharing a podium with a man half his age.

Youth has the future

But when the race was done, only the younger generation was left standing. The gap the front row trio had in qualifying translated directly into the race, and for the fourth time this season, Márquez, Quartararo and Viñales stood on the podium, and head and shoulders above the rest.

Any hope of a big group battling for the podium died in the first couple of laps. Jack Miller ruled himself out on the grid, accidentally pushing the kill switch while rushing through preparations for the start. "Pressed the wrong button," a disappointed Australian said after the race. "Just, let's say I was in a bit of a hurry. I was just trying to do everything a little bit too quickly, turning the launch on, and I pressed the wrong button. It's easy enough to do. I did it."

It is not the first time riders have been confused by Ducati's button layout. In 2017, Jorge Lorenzo managed to crash out of the lead of the Misano race as he searched for the correct button to swap engine maps. Since then, the starting sequence has only gotten more complicated: return to the grid from the warm up lap, making sure you get heat into the carbon brake discs on the way to your grid slot. Stop in the correct place, press the lever which allows you to engage neutral so you can take your hand off the bar to twist the holeshot device lever, twist the holeshot lever, pull the clutch in, engage first gear, press the launch control button, and then watch the lights ready for the start.

Switching it off and switching it back on again

The launch control button sits on the left-hand bar, in the button selection cluster, the 'Playstation controller' containing buttons for pit lane, engine brake, power settings, and fuel maps. The kill switch sits on the opposite bar in the same position as the launch control on the left. A temporary confusion, a moment of rushing through pre-start procedures, and before you know it, you have pressed the wrong button.

It had never happened to Miller before. "And it won't happen again either," the Pramac Ducati rider was adamant. "It was the kill switch, I turned the bike off. As soon as I pressed it, I was going '**** no!' Because I knew exactly what button I'd pressed." Fortunately he had the presence of mind to immediately raise his hand, and, contrary to the rules drawn up after Marc Márquez' bizarre starting grid fail in Argentina last year, push his bike off the grid. Miller's transgression went unpunished, presumably because he lost 15 seconds in getting the bike started before he could exit pit lane.

Quick shakeout

The disappearance of Jack Miller opened up gaps for other Ducatis to dive into. Fabio Quartararo got a fantastic start, with Marc Márquez close behind, and Maverick Viñales in third. From the melee which unfolded behind, Andrea Dovizioso eventually emerged ahead of Franco Morbidelli and Danilo Petrucci, after they had almost collided through Turn 1, Dovizioso getting better drive out of Turn 2 and passing down the main straight.

Turn 3 sorted out the running order, Márquez looking to dive up the inside of the long hairpin, but Quartararo standing his ground and using the corner speed of the wider line to seize a secure lead. Viñales helped there, sliding inside Márquez on the entry, but running a fraction wide and letting Márquez back ahead.

An order quickly emerged, at the front at least. Fabio Quartararo led, with Márquez on his tail. Viñales followed, but from lap 4, he started to drop quickly. While Quartararo and Márquez hammered in the laps in the low 1'31s and high 1'30s, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider could barely manage a mid 1'31, quickly losing nearly three seconds to the leaders.

Misano, reprised

It was a repeat performance of Misano for Viñales. "I felt different to Fabio and Marc in the traction area, which we lose a lot in," the Spaniard said. "With a full tank, if you don’t have traction it is very difficult to hit the lap times. Then as soon as the full tank went down a bit I could carry a lot of corner speed." From lap 9, Viñales was on the same pace as the leaders, and even started to catch them again. But by then, he had given himself an impassable mountain to climb.

Viñales' saving grace was the fact that Andrea Dovizioso was already so far behind, and barely matching his worst lap times. The factory Ducati rider could do no better than high 1'31s, and by lap 10, was over 5 seconds behind. Any hope he may have had of keeping Márquez from the title had long since dried up.

He simply didn't have the speed, he said after the race. "Unfortunately, we weren’t able to improve enough in T3 and T4," Dovizioso said. "At the end, for the situation we had in the race, I couldn't push more than that, because if you put more intensity, I wasn't faster. So the only way was to be consistent."

Life is about choices

With Dovizioso out of the picture, Márquez had time to weigh up his options. The original plan had been simple. "I already said on Thursday that my strategy, my mentality for the weekend will be the same like a normal race," Márquez told the press conference after the race. "Yesterday in the press conference I said again that I will try to fight for the victory. But then I saw that Fabio was incredibly fast. He was riding in a very good way. Especially the first ten laps he was very, very fast. I was struggling a lot with the front tire."

With the gap to Quartararo hovering close to a second, Márquez had a decision to make. "There was a moment in the race when I think I was 0.7, 0.8 behind him, that I said, okay, if he doesn't slow down it will be impossible. But that was when I did my fastest lap. Then I said, okay, give up or try, and I said, okay, I will push two laps at the maximum. If I pass these laps, I will be ready to win the race."

Knowledge is power

With those two laps, Márquez was back on the tail of Quartararo. He eased off and waited, having pushed the front to the limit, and sat studying the Frenchman, just as he had at Misano. It was not easy, though, Quartararo laying down a blistering pace throughout. "When three laps remain, I tried to study if was possible there to overtake," Márquez told the press conference. "And I saw, okay. It’s possible."

Márquez used the power of the Honda RC213V to draw level with the Petronas Yamaha with three laps to go, in a rehearsal of the move which was to come. He repeated the move on the final lap, but this time, he didn't just draw level, he got past into Turn 3 and held a tight line to stop Quartararo from trying to pass back. That gave the Repsol Honda rider control of the race, and though Quartararo closed up again, back on Márquez' tail by the time they entered Turn 9, passing was not easy.

Realistically, Quartararo had one chance. The final corner is an ideal passing spot at Buriram, but not without its dangers. You have to get the bike stopped and turned before the rider you just passed cottons on and cuts back early to get drive. But Márquez knew Quartararo was coming, and was already braking as late as he dared. The Frenchman waited, braked, and both men entered the final corner with their rear wheels in the air and starting to fishtail.

The Yamaha got past the Honda, but Márquez had already accounted for this eventuality. On the wider line, he cut inside earlier and got the drive out of the final turn. Quartararo managed to avoid going wide, but he had dumped all of his speed to make the corner after passing Márquez. He didn't have the drive to hold the lead, and had to watch as Márquez snatched victory from him once again.

Bitter defeat

Quartararo was furious, heartbroken, and frustrated all at once. Just as in Misano, he had ridden a pretty much perfect race. And just as in Misano, he had been pipped at the post by Marc Márquez, the Spaniard laying it all on the line to slake his insatiable appetite for victory. "I knew that I wanted to try something in the last corner," Quartararo said. "If not, I will not sleep until Japan. So we try it into the last corner. Here in the last corner I think you can't really close a lot because the exit is really important."

Racing is about nothing more than ego, to defeat anyone who dares to think they can ride faster than you. That last lap was a battle of egos, a battle of wills, of a rider determined to get his first win versus a rider who did not want his clinching of the championship overshadowed by the debut victory of the young prodigy being viewed as his successor. It was a vision of the future, of the new generation taking over from the old, one of many more battles to come.

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year: 
2019
round_number: 
15
Total votes: 39
Total votes: 82

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Comments

Technical failures are of course never good, but it's not like the RS-GP breaks down all the time. The title and the text imply that the Aprilia is a total failure, which I find a bit harsh. Any manufacturer that can build a bike that regularly gets within one second of the fastest bike-rider combination in the world is doing a pretty impressive job, I'd say. With the current closeness of the field, even the riders at the back of the field are usually not that far off the pace - but still, somebody will end up last, always, even if everybody and every bike is brilliant. Nowadays even a proven race winner and multiple world champ on the championship winning bike can end up last repeatedly, that's how tough it is out there.

Aleix was actually having quite a good race until that technical problem came up, being consistently in 10th place on the tail of Petrucci and not that far off the group that battled for 4th. I've seen him being quoted as saying that he was pleasantly surprised about the progress compared to last year at Buriram, that the team managed to improve the set-up significantly, that he was feeling strong on the bike and that this was one of his best races with Aprilia - until the technical problem of course. I am missing this positive side of the story in the report. I'd say it's still better to have found some good speed and then having to retire because of a non-structural technical issue than being slow and just finish the race without breaking down.

I respect any manufacturer that even dares to take part in MotoGP and is in serious contention. Having said that, I do hope Aprilia manage to make a step up with their all-new 2020 RS-GP. Aleix certainly deserves a realistic shot at the podium.  

Probably like many, I do wonder how good Aleix really is, and what he would be able to do on say a Ducati or Yamaha (he will ask himself that too, I guess). In his last Suzuki year in 2016 though, strangely he was struggling. The speed difference now with Iannone, who was fast on the Duc and was fast last year on the Suzuki (remember Phillip Island 2018?), is impressive for sure. But Iannone was dissappointing in his first Suzuki year too (until the last couple of races), so let's see what he does in his second Aprilia year. 

Total votes: 30

In my opinion, Quartararo is the first rider to arrive in MotoGP since 2013 that looks like he can compete with Marquez at every meaningful metric. He has otherworldly skill, a burning will to win, the ability to push 100% for every lap in the race, and the ability to save crashes that others wouldn't. There is no-one else on the grid (other than Marquez, obviously) with all four of these attributes.

The unknown for me is how he will react to a bad or unlucky spell; I really hope he has learnt from his troubles in Moto3 and Moto2. The rest is now down to Yamaha. Given that the 2020 Honda will likely be a better bike, Yamaha need to produce the biggest engine upgrade in their history.

Total votes: 36

Something that defies form is that he didn't really show his poterntial in for the two years in Moto2, 13th and 10th I think, one win and hardly any podiums. Its heartening to see that there is no magic form-book formula for seeing who the future top riders are, and shows that those who raised eyebrows at him going to MotoGP were utterly wrong and the Petronas management are excellent. I agree he really looks like the best challenger to MM, hope for the sake of the competition Yamaha can give him what he needs to start winning.

Total votes: 20

Fabio has been absolutely tremendous this year. Really nice to watch him ride with what often seems to be the level of abandonment usually seen with Marc.

...but i'd still beware of counting chickens. It's not even one year. Zarco (although to a lesser extent) was given to beating factory Yamahas too. Mav was light years ahead of Rossi at the begining of 2017 albeit for an all too brief period, Mav was the new messiah. Rossi had a very good year in 2018, if he'd finished 2nd in Sepang and Valencia (why settle for second in those circumstances?) he would have have been right on Dovis coat tails in the championship and rememeber, for most of their time as team mates Rossi has made Mav look a little silly in the races...but of course by magic, he's now lost whatever he had...or not...and now Mav is the TopGun factory boy again...although some suggest he should be binned by Yamaha.

All a matter of perspective, how you look at it.

Suddenly the next big thing is here...time will tell.

Total votes: 26

Another great write-up, David! But...well...with all of that, the 2020 Season is unofficially now underway...sorta. Time for some new chores, like moving a few deck chairs about.

HRC ~ Job 1, sign MM to a long-term deal. And by "long-term" I am not referring to a multi-year contract, but one based on geologic time scales. Next, deal with Jorge. Whatever the truth of it, neither HRC nor Repsol can accept the status quo. Jorge's injuries are a very serious concern, as is his lost confidence. But at the end of the day, having a Factory Bike ride around on the softest tires available at the Syarhin-Abraham nexus of the pack is not a situation that can continue. I do not see any bright future after further development this Winter either. As David pointed out, HRC has been whistling that "easier to ride" tune since 2013. But the facts remain that they have a winning combination currently, in truth one that is dominant. They will modify the RC213V to make MM even better, and if that means it calms down a bit, great, but don't bet on leopards changing their spots. So Jorge can maybe have aspirations of hassling Tito in 2020. And this is not a knock on Jorge, he is one of the greatest talents I have ever witnessed, and back on a bike that suits him, perhaps he still is all of that. So this is not really a dig at either HRC or Lorenzo, just the acknowledgement of a terrible marriage that is not going to work. Both sides are playing it coy right now, but it really seems that it is all about who gets the dog in the divorce.

If HRC cuts Jorge loose, then who gets the task of jumping on the RC213V bull, and try to hold on for an eight count? As other people have noted, Bradl is probably the only short-term option. A decent place-holder for a year until the market opens wide for 2021 contracts. The good news is that Stefan knows the bike, his opinions almost always match Marc's, and he is not afraid of the bull. With a full-time race schedule he can probably scare up a few top ten finishes, just in front of or just behind Nakagami, enough times to matter. Not an optimum solution, but acceptable for next year. The downside is that HRC would then lose a great development rider, one that Marc respects and relies on. But it is either Bradl or HRC can hold a raffle: First prize is a one-year contract to ride the RC213V. Second prize is a two-year contract. And either way it will not be Zarco. In fact, if Johann is holding off signing the offer Iwata made for testing the M1 in Europe next year with the hopes that HRC will slot him in alongside Marc, he is delusional. And that is me at my kindest.

Then there is Cal, another one of my personal favorites. But Cal is so battered and broken physically right now (he can barely sleep with the pain) that perhaps HRC should slot him into the testing role for 2020 (if they move Bradl onto Jorge's seat), a task at which he would be brilliant. As for Cal's then vacated seat at Gresini? See raffle options above. But none of this is anything other than rearranging the cushions on the deck chairs compared to keeping Marc happy, healthy, and rich. He may be all they've got, but he also may be all they need.

Ducati ~ Well, I think Dovi is good for charging once more into the breach, but Ducati needs to be a better bike than the RC213V for him to succeed. And I don't mean on specs or theoretically...but on the track. Even with that, they will need to roll boxcars at the 2020 craps table far more often than should be statistically possible. But over a single season, maybe they can catch lightning is a bottle. As far as Danilo is concerned, Ducati moved too quickly (and like everyone else, I cheered his reward after Mugello, because I can be quite stupid and emotional about these things). Ducati now says Petrux needs a weight reduction...of 15 kilos! And the only option I can see for getting there is to surgically remove his right leg and tell Danilo; "For sure, it will be OK. Just use the thumb brake". Petrux is a great lad, and I wish him the best, but I would be pouring any additional resources on Miller and Bagnaia, not Petrucci. Well, pouring what is left in the cupboard after losing Marco Frigerio to Yamaha. Ouch.

Delving deep into personal fantasies, I would love Ducati to sign Jorge as a test rider for next year (which I am certain HRC would forbid as a condition of any parole Lorenzo might be granted for 2020), and then to emancipate Pirro with a WSBK seat (which he not only deserves, but would be brilliant at as a full time racer). But those sugarplums will remain in dreamland. Pity.

Yamaha ~ Job 1, sign FQ20 to a long-term deal. As in; whatever HRC offers MM, offer Fabio two years more than that. And he gets a full factory seat for 2021. If they can keep Maverick as-well, so much the better. Vale can start VR46 MotoGP early with himself as the principle rider. Slot his brother alongside him, or have him and Jorge go out in a blaze of glory as Team Graybeard. FQ20 is what matters...even more than Rossi. It may sound like a disrespectful way to treat an OG (Original GOAT). but such is life. Darrell Royal, the legendary University of Texas Coach, was at an awards banquet after UT won the National Title, and from the podium he rhetorically asked; "But will you still love me if we go five and seven next year?". A voice called out from the crowd; "We'll still love you, Coach...we'll miss you too".

MM let out a very cryptic statement over the last weekend about launching off corners. To paraphrase; "With torque you do not have traction. With traction, you do not have torque". And I think what is being stated is that midrange to top-end is where you want your engine chracterstics amplified, and sod the low-end to mid-range stuff (even if it makes the bike friendlier to ride). This also appears to match Vale's thoughts over last winter, when he seemed to have a preference for more of an Iwata screamer, rather than another date with Miss Manners. You know, something with some horns on it, not something that is docilely milked. These bikes make so much power that low-end grunt only stresses the traction control systems, without necessarily pushing you down the track any better. Better to place your bets on the upper half of the powerband where traction issues, while still prevalent, are far more manageable. I would let Vale decide what is best, with FQ20 having a strong voice...maybe even a veto...in the final decision. I would distract Maverick during these discussions, or dart him with a tranquilizer gun until a decision is made. Maverick is a genius on the bike, but I suspect he remains a bit of a hazard as a development rider. His passion helps with the former, but is a liability with the latter. And speaking of, Vinales has a legitimate shot at third in this year's championship, and FQ20 is in with a shout at fourth. So their focus for the rest of 2019 should be results. Vale and Franco should be lab animals over the final four races, trying every combination of weight distribution, electronics, and suspension settings to generate data for final development of the 2020 M1. And I would not let them race on any rear compound harder than MM is using for the rest of this year. Yamaha cannot be giving away a better rear compound to HRC and Ducati in 2020. Sort it out.

Marco Frigerio and the Iwata/ Monster Yamaha staff have their work cut out helping the M1 deal better with changes in the bike weight over race distance, and dealing with changes to the track surface over race distance as-well. Whatever the fuel load mass to wheelabase variables are for the M1, they seem to be far less optimized than HRC's, Ducati's, or even Suzuki's. And of the top teams, Yamaha still seems to be the least clever in dealing with the simple fact that they are racing Sunday on three different tracks. The first is one coated with Moto2 Dunlop Never Seize compound, the next is a mixture of that and Michelin race rubber deposition, and the last is mostly Michelin. But if other teams can sort this out, so can Iwata.

Suzuki ~ Job 1 is M-O-N-E-Y. Suzuki needs a better source of funding than their own brand of outboard motor oil. We have seen this movie from Hamamatsu before; get some success and then revert to their penchant of tossing Euros around like they were manhole covers. They have two great riders on the grid and a very competent test rider as well. But they need more development dollars...and a satellite team. Spend what is needed to keep their upward arc going next year, and then the world will come begging for a satellite ride in 2021. One cannot overstate the attraction of a winning bike that is not plotting to kill the pilot every lap.

KTM ~ Job 1 is re-sort the rider pantry. All respect to Mika Kalio, but there is a world of difference between being a good test rider, and finishing in the top ten in a MotoGP race. Mika is a great talent (as they all are), but he is not going to get the type of results Pirro or Bradl can still deliver for their respective teams. Put your faith in what Dani says, and put your resources behind Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira. If Mika is all that is available for the seat next to Pol, fine, he gets whatever Pol is riding, but Pol is the sole focus. Leave Miguel on the Tech Trois bike, but give him all the resources you were devoting to Zarco. Get something next year that doesn't need to have "Let 'er buck" painted on the tank to comply with workplace safety requirements, and then re-stock the trout pond in 2021 with Red Bull Euros. But understand that even a mega fan like Dietrich Mateschitz has his limits. I have enormous respect for the way that KTM handled the Zarco issue, but it does leave them a cog short next year. Focus on the triumvirate of Dani/Pol/Miguel and get it sorted. The clock is running.

Aprilia ~ Job 1 is at the end of the season to take two weeks off...and then quit (to paraphrase the advice golfer Jimmy Demaret famously gave to a struggling golfer). Seriously, pull out of MotoGP and go dominate Moto3. Or prove me dead wrong and roll out something wonderful for next year. And, sadly, I really do mean next year, because nothing will be available at the 2019 end of season tests. I have said for years that I do not think Aprilia will ever field a bike better than last year's Ducati. Ants do not bite the legs off elephants. I truly hope I am dead wrong about Aprilia, because I think they build some brilliant motorcycles. But I have seen nothing (yet) to change my views on them. They are probably too committed for next year to run screaming from the MotoGP grid shouting "flee for your lives", but if you are not competitive in the first three rounds next year, then rely on the kindness of the MotoGP Brahmans to accept that adding VR46 and a Suzuki Satellite Team in 2021 is preferable to having to keep scraping Aprilia off the bottoms of elephant feet. Aleix can (maybe) get a ride (almost) alongside his brother at Tech Trois KTM, and Ianonne can devote his jaw, and his many other qualities that currently elude me, to conquering Instagram.

What matters more than any of that twaddle above ~ Michelin. What do they bring for next year? By all indications, the tires will be far hardier, rumored to be good for going full chat the entire race distance, and they should have increased edge grip as well. It would seem that this would be tailor made for Yamaha, but we have to acknowledge that all of the other factories know this as well, and their bikes will be further optimized to exploit these characteristics (if these tire rumors are true, which is always a hazardous assumption). Because at the end of the day, Michelin is the iceberg. What everyone else is doing is just placing their deckchairs in the best spots on top of it. Cheers.

PS - Sorry for exposing you to all of this nonsense, I would recommend not giving it all that much credence. But I posted it because, for me, this year is done and dusted. I care about who eventually finishes third about as much as the news media cares about dolphins who, instead of rescuing struggling swimmers, push them out to sea. That is not to say I will not be interested in the races, I definitely will. We will be running some brilliant circuits and with no championship considerations, the racing should be fantastic. But since the championship is done, they will also be like a series of beautiful rainbows; breathtaking to behold, but not really impacting when it comes to scribing words on history's parchment. But we can all still chilax a bit and just enjoy the show, which remains head and shoulders above anything else in Motorsports. Cheers.

Total votes: 88

"... I have enormous respect for the way that KTM handled the Zarco issue..."

Agree, including having the grace and deep pockets to pay out the remainder of his 2019 contract. This has made amends for the Kenny Roberts fiasco in 2005. To my mind, anyway. Yes, I know, apples and oranges. Still...

Total votes: 12

i laughed so many times. i got to know many interesting things. and i agree with most of what you wrote - except i´ll be interested to the end of the season (not only) because i want to see what my no2 favourite fabio (love him since he came to moto3) is up to

Total votes: 10

I am looking into phone booths for men using laptops as we speak. You hit all the notes each and everytime Mr Jinx

Total votes: 10

Looking at that pic of the Duc, I'm surprised the killswitch doesn't use the blue triangle with the red lightning bolt used universally in 4 wheeled motorsport. Obviously there is less real estate on a bike but something that important must surely have some kind of marker on it, if only for the benefit of the marshalls.

Total votes: 13

Another great piece of work, David. The future looks very bright.

Total votes: 10

Excellent stuff Jinx,

I have said it before - are HRC planning on putting Nakagami on the 2nd Repsol seat? Would certainly explain the delay in signing and solve a lot of issues:

Good Japanese talent on the works bike

No need to find a 2nd 2020 bike for Lucio's team (this will keep Cal happy. Lol)

Repsol can heave poor old Jorge out and he can say he was sacked and keep his dignity intact

Total votes: 16

Right now Quartararo is the only real threat to Márquez, but the skill and race craft of MM is something to behold. However, these are very early days for FQ and he'll probably learn what he needs to do, especially with all the talent and experience in the Yamaha stable.

But as has been said, we've seen a few false dawns before and besides, we seem to be in an extremely volatile period where the heroes of a few months ago are mid-pack now. I'm thinking Rossi, Dovi, Crutchlow and one or two others. It isn't that long ago that I was writing that Rossi was the best rider in the Yamaha tent, based purely on results, but look at where he's at now. Why is that? What has changed? I doubt it's Rossi himself, or any of the others mentioned and that includes Lorenzo. It would be very unusual for a top athlete to fall away so quickly, regardless of age. So I think if these guys believe they can bounce back, then I'm inclined to take that at face value.... for now at least. If they'd under-achieved the whole season long, that's a different matter, but they haven't.

So, while I agree we're on the verge of a transition I won't be too surprised if it's quite a gradual process that takes place over a couple of years rather than all at once. Because the teams could so easily bounce an old hand out only to find the replacement starlet wasn't quite so stellar on their new machine... and we've had one or two of those in recent years, haven't we!

Total votes: 20

Just happy to be here amongst some very deep thinkers. Not a bad place here, respect amongst the commentors. Rare on the net. Thanks to David and all you people above/below. Yeah soppy I know. Nevermind

Total votes: 26

or placed where it is not likely to be accidentally operated. I have never understood why motorcycles have it in such an accident prone position and with no cover.

Total votes: 14

The kill switch needs to be easily accessed by both those familiar with the bike and those not. Any delay while struggling to find and activate a shrouded kill switch say when the throttle jammed open while being ridden or when the bike is on its side with the engine running while being tended by marshals  could be dangerous.
The kill switch is a safety device and Jack Miller reverting to his nick name is no argument for making it harder to access.

Total votes: 7

thank you, david, for your work.

Total votes: 13

Lorenzo and HRC are interlocked in a stare down where neither party are willing to give in.

HRC showed their hands when they decided not to allow Jorge to leave to Pramac for 2020.  They have chosen to not allow Ducati to get stronger at the risk of HRC getting weaker.

Jorge has seen that HRC will not build a bike for him, they want Jorge to ride the RCV as Marc has pushed it.  Its been hinted before that the engine character will stay in the direction of the winning rider.  So Jorge will never be able to adapt to the Honda.  Ducati was willing to build a bike in a Jorge direction.

By not being allowed to leave, Jorge has decided that he will only ride the bike in his style, regardless of how slow it goes and Honda will suffer the consequences and pay Jorge millions to do it.

Jorge won't balk because he was denied the chance to leave on a contract option that must have a 'mutual agreement clause'.  Honda won't balk because they want to blame Jorge and not the bike and would rather see Jorge a) retire or b) take a year off instead of c) ride a Yamaha or Ducati in 2020

Total votes: 8

The best write up in quite awhile! For me it was a terrific race report imbedded in the competitive dynamics transforming the sport. Of course we have a lot more going on now with the kids rising and such but you bring it all to the forefront of us fans. And also thanks to Jinx... Great response and where have you been the past couple seasons? - Pantah

Total votes: 7

From someone who has seen a bit...and dean has...

Check out Dean's  "damn right we're running this again" at superbikeplanet.com

It's been there from the start. 

I have others who are my personal favorites, but anyone who does not see that Marc is different has their head in the sand.

Total votes: 15

Yeah that was a great prediction and artfully written. It was good that he re-ran it again. Adams has been a contraversial moto racing scribe but the one thing he is best at is being a fan of the riders who make the sport what it is. He writes about them so well. I always liked that about him. 

Total votes: 5

from memeory and without consulting the 'wayback machine', Dean wrote a piece after Marc's first win at Austin. And, while paraphrasing Dean wrote that as came across MM93 he said, "you can be the best rider this sport has seen. Stay focused, avoid distractions and keep your ego in check and your entourage in line."

again, a paraphrase but likely close. I remember that article each time Marquez puts his name on another record or championship. And while i happen to be wearing a 'Soup' shirt today (tees sold by Dean), i agree that MM is head and shoulders above the rest.
I have strong negative feelings about what I feel is a lack of sportsmanship and regard for fellow riders and their safety but i am working feally hard to appreciate and enjoy what i am witnessing. 
 

Could Jinx be Dean Adams?!

Total votes: 4

as Mr. Adams has a weird aversion to the word wheelie and we certainly would have seen at least one "horn mono" in one of Jinx' posts by now. ;)

Total votes: 2

Great prediction by Adams, and some good self back slapping as well on him getting it so right.

I can only think of two riders who have come from the back (or near) to win support classes recently, Marquez (125 and Moto2) and Brad Binder, one of the reasons I am looking forward to the South African on the KTM MotoGP machine next year.

Another side of the reprint was that I had forgotten how much Adams disliked Stoner!
Nothing like having the media on your side, something Stoner couldn't manage.

Total votes: 9