Silly season started off early this season in MotoGP with many riders contracts being up at the end of the year. However this was but a formality as the underlying reasons played a major role for what has unfolded thus far. The biggest move obviously being Lorenzo to Ducati as the defending champion leaves Movistar Yamaha or is it?
In my opinion Lorenzo has made the move after being pressured in to it when Rossi signed on, unexpectedly soon, for another few years. Where else could he go? He and Rossi are clearly not the definition of team mates by any stretch of the imagination, in-fact it’s actually just disappointing to watch two “team mates” have little to no respect for each other, so his options were joining Honda if Pedrosa was to leave or joining Ducati, Ducati being the obvious choice as I don’t think it was ever really in doubt that Pedrosa and Marquez would stay at Honda at least for another year. Maybe a move out of GP to something different like World SBK? Not likely, Lorenzo desperately wants to be mentioned in the same leaugue as Rossi or even try to out do him. I would go so far as to say his obsessed with it, showing gestures aimed at Rossi at every chance he gets. So moving to Ducati where Rossi failed to try show he can do it, he jumped at it and more than likely will recieve a fat pay cheque along with it. This however is not a Lorenzo bashing blog as in the end he is a quality rider and has proved that on many an occasion and so all the best to him.
For me though the big move that I feel has been understated is Maverick Vinales to Movistar Yamaha. He clearly has a good head on his shoulders, down to earth and seems to be ready to soak up every occasion and take something from it. He shows real passion for riding and joining a team with Rossi, possibly the most passionate rider of all time, and all the knowledge that Rossi has to give, it’s a stroke of genius from Yamaha, really setting up the teams future with the most promising rider on the grid along side the most experienced rider that is still competing and winning races, it’s going to be great to watch, I can’t wait!
KTM are on the grid next year and judging from the rumours and what is being said from KTM themselves, they should have a pretty competitive bike. They’ve already sown up one rider in the form of a very solid Bradley Smith and undoubtedly will have a long list of riders that they will be looking at to complete the team and a few very talented riders that would snap up the opportunity to either move up to GP or be a part of a factory team.
Ducati as we mentioned have Lorenzo from next season and have chosen to stick with ‘Desmo Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso) which I find interesting as Iannone is a clear star and seems to be improving quickly but maybe it’s a matter of Ducati realising their bike is a beast to ride and having two experineced heads may be the way forward.
That however was great for Suzuki as they were able to replace their star rider with another really fast rider in Iannone and with Suzuki ever improving, next season could be a good one for them, I hope they stick with Aleix Espagaro, he and his brother seem to be great characters and highly competitive and enjoy their riding. (I would love to see the brothers in the same team though, could be very interesting).
The last of the factory teams, Aprilia, they are just not competitive, they really need to get it together. Aprilia have such a proud racing history and they really should not be languishing at the back where they are right now. Sam Lowes is on the Aprilia next season and that to me is a statement of intent as a rider of his pedigree is not going to be happy struggling to get points. Maybe a ride for his brother Alex Lowes? I highly doubt it but as you may be able to tell I enjoy these sibling rivalries, speaking of, what is going on with Alex Marquez…A story for another day.
The other non factory teams are also scrambling to secure their riders for next season so that the focus can be fully on the present season as their is still a long way yet to go.
It’s been great to watch so far this year with all the new regulations stirring up some surprises in the top 10 and even better at times and I’m sure or at least hope that the gaps will continually get smaller between all the teams because let’s be honest we don’t want it becoming like F1.
On that note let’s move our attention over to our very own Brad Binder!
He was already showing glimpses of his potential last season especially toward the end when he treated on a number of occasions only to just miss out but this season he is absolutely tearing it up and how great it would be to see a South African take the title! Let’s dream a little more and say how great would it be to see a South African in the premier class on a GP bike! Binder to partner Vinales when Rossi retires or to take the seat from Pedrosa at Repsol Honda!
I only say these things because the way Brad is riding he is making a lot of us dream big and I’m sure is inspiring a lot of people especially South Africans who let’s be honest need these kinds of guys to inspire us!
I’m 100% behind Brad and I believe he can do it, I only hope that more South Africans get behind and support him because damn does he deserve it!
This has been my word on the state of MotoGP.