With MotoGP entering Europe after an exciting start to the season in Qatar and the America’s, the championship took a surprise turn. We saw a hint of this in America, but it was not expected to continue, at least not yet, as MotoGP went to Jerez.
Jerez is a track that is usually suited to the Yamaha machines. Dylan Gray expressing this, explaining how the Yamaha’s are suited to its flowing nature, while it is normally a bit of a headache for the Honda’s and Ducati’s. Well then, it was a massive shock to see the race completely dominated by the two factory Honda’s of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.
I will admit that I am truly happy for Pedrosa. He is undoubtedly the most deserving of a title, it would really mark his name in the history books of GP racing. Pedrosa has one of the most remarkable stats in MotoGP. After victory in Jerez, he now has at least one MotoGP victory in every one of the last 12 seasons, unbelievable!
Pedrosa took the win from pole position, and although Marquez refused to give up even after Pedrosa pulled away in the lead, there was nothing he could do as Pedrosa rode a pretty perfect race.
Jorge Lorenzo returned to form, and proved that he may still very well be a threat on the Ducati, as he comes to terms with his new machine. A brilliant ride by the man we all love to hate. I will give him credit where it is due, he surprised me with a third place on a track, as I mentioned before, not always suited to the Ducati.
The big talking points though belong to the Yamaha’s. Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi had no answers for the Honda’s and Ducati’s. Even the Aprilia of Aliex Espargaro getting the better of Rossi’s M1. It was really not a good day at the office for the factory Yamaha team. Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha machine showed what could have been, as he rode, rather bravely, and at times quite brilliantly to 4th. Zarco looked on course for a podium but a lack of grip after riding hard in the early stages cost him. Nevertheless, Zarco again stood out and is looking like rookie of the season so far.
The Yamaha’s of Rossi and Vinales ran out of grip as they both chewed through their tyres. Both admitting after the race that they were not comfortable on the bike and felt like they were going to crash. Both riders eventually going for damage control, taking the points and regrouping. Let’s hope it’s not more of the same to come from them. I highly doubt it though.
In other news from the weekend’s race, Jack Miller has been fined for a shove on Alvaro Bautista, after the two came together and crashed out. Miller feeling hard done by, especially after looking strong leading up to the race.
Four races down for 2017, The Yamaha’s and in particular Maverick Vinales dominating the opening two rounds, however, it has been a strong fight back from the Repsol Honda boys as Marquez and Pedrosa shared victories at Circuit of the America’s and Jerez.
The championship is now well and truly wide open, 10 points separating Rossi in first on 52 and Pedrosa in 4th on 42. It is still early days, but it seems a Honda, Yamaha scrap is on the cards for the title. It is great to see Pedrosa back in the fight and joined by a new face in Vinales. Will either of them be able to take the title from Marquez and prevent Rossi from winning title number 10?
In Moto2, Alex Marquez took his first Moto2 victory. A long time coming, but very much expected. I am sure the victory will give him that much needed confidence, and fully expect to see him win more this season. Franco Morbidelli crashed out rather unexpectedly, however he will surely be back to winning ways soon. I still don’t doubt for a second that he will take the title this season.
I believe Moto2 will be a race for 2nd in the championship, and that may be rather more difficult to predict. Marquez, Oliviera, Luthi and Nakagami will certainly all win races this year, or at the very least share a few podiums between them. A very talented and fast looking Pecco Bagnaia could be a dark horse, definitely one to look out for though. I could be wrong though, maybe Morbidelli showed his cards too early? I just have this feeling though, that he is the man for the job.
There was yet another thrilling race in Moto3, going right down to the line. Aron Canet coming out on top, ahead of Romano Fenati and Joan Mir in the sprint to the line. The three were followed closely by Marcos Ramirez on the Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM, the team really thriving since the swop to KTM this season. Ramirez’ teammate, Darryn Binder looked strong as well in the early stages of the race. He unfortunately crashed out battling for the lead. Binder catching a slight bump from Fenati as he tried a move round the outside. You got to hand it to Darryn though, he definitely looks like he can compete with the best up front. He is only going to get better!
I think a question that will be on everyone’s minds is, could Fenati be the comeback king of Moto3? He is looking really strong, and if he can keep his head, will definitely be challenging for the title. It looks as if he will be battling Joan Mir at this point in time.
In the end, it is too early to actually start making any predictions for the titles. There is still plenty racing to be done, and besides, why start thinking about the end already? Let’s enjoy the ride!
My word on MotoGP back in Europe.
(Feature image photo credit: MotoGP Facebook page.)