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  • Reply to: MotoGP Silly Season After Le Mans: Mir In, Lorenzo Out?   2 hours 44 min ago

    For Ducati having JL still there may prove to be a hinderance more than a positive going foward this year. He's riding for a factory seat and shares no need to support Dovi in his pursuit of the championship. Unfortunately for Ducati if they sign someone else soon then JL may just ride for himself, not the team, more so than he may be doing at the moment. Thats potentially going to come at the cost for Dovi this year.

    Which seems then that Ducati is a career ending ride? This is a common risk with riders (as changing tire brands has shown) however the Duc has seen few good riders come and go in its recent history. MM, VR, CS, AI, JL?

  • Reply to: MotoGP Silly Season After Le Mans: Mir In, Lorenzo Out?   2 hours 58 min ago

    So, who is going to find true love in MotoGP, and who is going to have their heart broken?

    Honda apparently is comfortable having their entire program dependent on a single point of failure (MM). Call them Team Hubris. They had a shot at Mir and let him get away. They did the same with Morbidelli via their Marc VDS break-up (though understandably, as Marc VDS has seemingly transformed from a wholesome Hollandmädel into the crazy redhead with all the tattoos). That leaves them with the skeletal remains of Dani Pedrosa (maybe), the girl who had a curl in the middle of her forehead (Cal), and some likely Japanese lad. At least Cal has heeded the advice, evidently delivered by both Honda management and Luccio Cecchinello, which was: "Cal, please do shut up about a Repsol ride".

    Ducati has Dovi and Bagnaia wedded and bedded. That leaves only two bones for three dogs. Ducati's approach to flattering Lorenzo into staying seems to be "gee, for a fat girl, you don't sweat that much". Not exactly a Shakespeare sonnet and a dozen roses. So then what to do with Danilo and Happy Jack? If they promote Miller they lose Petrucci. If they promote Petrucci they keep them both. Easy decision for me, especially since Jack seems quite content with the Pramac Team, but making it work requires that Danilo performs on an equal basis to Miller over the next few rounds (or at least near as doesn't matter). In any event, there will be at least three GP19's on the track next year between the Factory and Pramac, so Pramac is going to be a very nice place to work. If they lose Danilo, then Ianonne or Rea would at least be interesting choices for the empty Pramac seat. But since Ianonne is remebered by the Bolognese as the crazy redhead who shaved her head bald so she could add some more tattoos, I would take a good look at Rea. But I think it will be Dovi + Petrucci / Miller + Bagnaia.

    Yamaha needs to work on their current marriage. Vale is like the Mother-in-Law that lives under the same roof with you, except it is actually Vale's house and he isn't going anywhere. And that means one thing; he isn't going to stop yapping about your litany shortcomings as a provider anytime soon. Meanwhile Vinales is reduced to either randomly lashing out or sobbing uncontrollably, and "did you just call me Suzuki?" is not something Yamaha wants to keep asking their young Spanish bride every night. And now Yamaha wants more of this bliss by adding a brand new satellite team. But that is where things get really interesting. If they can close the deal with Marc VDS, then they get Morbidelli. They should then let Lorenzo move back home, even if they make him sleep on the couch. Morbidelli's arrival would make Rossi happy, but looking across the garage at his former team mate and saying; "'ve come crawling back" would make him deliriously so. At least for a week or two. The trick is, how do you let Jorge keep his pride, and how do you get four 2019 M1's on the grid next year? Marc van der Stratten has assured the financial stability of Marc VDS for the next two seasons, but this may not be a really opportune time to hit him up for the massive budget increase required to supply the satellite team with current equipment and all the additional minions required to maintain it. He presently seems rather occupied ransoming his entire operation back. So split the difference. Petition the MotoGP Papacy for a dispensation to run three factory bikes next year, and allow Marc VDS to have a much reduced budget running a single 2019 M1 for Morbidelli. Use Jorge's Monster Energy Dowery (rumored to be about 2 million Euros per year) to pay for it. Honda already set the precedence of three factory bikes a few years back, and while Jorge's total compensation might be limited to having first crack at the empty aluminum cans in the paddock dumpster, he would retain a "Factory" ride, which I think means a great deal to him. Of course there are risks, as the Yamaha garage might not replace Disneyland as the happiest place on earth right away, but that is a small price to pay for such a staggering depth of talent. Besides, they will be at each others throats so much they might not have the time or the energy to constantly whinge about their Heathkit level electronics. Or go to plan "B", which is to tell Jorge to piss off and let Hafizh keep a one year older M1...after collecting a King's ransom from his Malaysian backers.

    Just kidding about Jorge scavenging the empties, because we all know that Suzuki already has that gig locked up. Team Thirty Cents away from having a Quarter, if they have indeed inked Mir for two years, have done brilliantly. I never thought the rumors of Rins + Jorge + Marc VDS  (e.g., Morbidelli and Mirs on the Satellite Suzuki's) was anything but a fantasy. You would have better luck getting another bowl of gruel from Mr Bumble. But they have a pretty sweet bike and two exceptionally talented young riders. You could spend a hell of a lot more and wind up with a hell of a lot less than what Hamamatsu will be lining up on the grid next year. Well played.

    But that does leave one Andrea looking for gainful employment next year. So off to Aprilia with him. And the lads from Noale should be glad to have Ianonne. I can't see Lorenzo on that team, as he is a pain in the ass and he is not Italian. Ianonne is a pain in the ass but he is Italian. Game, set, match to Andrea. Ianonne will at least cure Aprilia of the affliction Oscar Wilde described as "...not being talked about", and people do occasionally grow up. Andrea is overdue for a spurt.

    Which leaves KTM as the remaining Factory/Satellite options, and they are playing their cards very close to the vest for the last seat. Tech Trois wants a hatchling, but if they can pry Dani's remains loose from Repsol I think they would have a great line-up without raising the price of Redbull another 50% ("I'll pay, I'll pay! Gimme gimme gimme!"). Sorry, was that out loud? But what I expect KTM to do is wait...and then cherry pick the best of the rest available. Right now they are fully engaged trying to make motors turn the wrong way, which is as silly as expecting bumblebees to fly when the math clearly proves they are rubbish at it.

    But while KTM might be bargain shopping, Avintia and Angel Nieto are salivating at the prospect of having the only remaining lifeboats in a sea full of drowning men. Jorge Martinez was almost giddy in the press the other day discussing the possible options available to put some speed in the saddle, and Avintia may become so enthralled by the talent coming out of Moto2 that they make additional room in their lifeboat by paying off Bautista and tossing him to the sharks. Either way, there should be a considerable upgrade at the back of the grid in both equipment and talent. The GP16 was a fine tool, but only if it had wings up front that looked like someone broke into Boeing one night and made off a few samples. Without the additional downforce that was always part of its DNA, a GP16 is pretty much, well, gelded. The GP17 can be made to perform more than adequately without all the apendages the GP16 was designed to exploit. The Back of the Grid has to move past being a career killer (or a motorized version of the witness protection program) and become what it always should have been; a valid career path to higher aspirations, including for those riders who take a year or two to sort themselves out on the big stage. But it remains unreasonable to expect Ducati to supply eight bikes, Suzuki and Aprilia need to step up for 2020.

    So, how much confidence do I have in this drivel I just typed? Well, outside of the contracts that are already signed, pretty much fuck-all. I do think Danilo moves to the Ducati Factory squad (though perhaps with only a one-year deal), and I am pretty well convinced that Jorge is screwed (but with regards to the latter I really hope I am wrong). For the balance I will just have to wait for the other horses to either move into the 2019 starting gate or scratch, just like the rest of you. Krop will let us know. Cheers.

  • Reply to: 2018 Donington World Superbike FP3 Result: Rea And Sykes End Day Quickest   6 hours 32 min ago

    bradley !

  • Reply to: MotoGP Silly Season After Le Mans: Mir In, Lorenzo Out?   7 hours 8 min ago

    Wouldnt it be ironic if JL goes to Rossis yamaha squad? or teh old Tech 3 bikes?

  • Reply to: MotoGP Silly Season After Le Mans: Mir In, Lorenzo Out?   7 hours 30 min ago

    Stoner left Ducati once he realized they were only so keen to listen to him (he has said as much), by which point the competion had risen to the occasion. Casey's often-absurd top speed advantage had been mitigated, everyone was on Bridgestones and no amount of physics-bending was going to get him around the fact that the chassis was simply too inferior to the M1 and RCV of his final Ducati years. So began his crashes and declineing results.

    Yes, once Rossi & Burgess came along and realized how awful it was, Ducati agreed to build him a traditional alum-beam frame. Of which, they had little knowledge about developing, like at all. The relationship predictably (in hindsight) failed to produce returns since Ducati now had a mountain to climb going now from trellis, to frameless, and finally to twin-spar aluminum.

    Its pretty clear Ducati only really got their head out of their a** once they hired Gigi to clean house and restructure the program. Jorge is racing in a completely different era of the Italian company compared to Rossi's time there.