MotoMatters Losail Projections

As usual, the work done by my colleague David Emmett on his website is outstanding in its volume and quality.  In his recent article on the subject, he totaled the best 22 laps by each rider in order to re-evaluate the standings provided by best lap only.  He produced the following table, which I’m going to re-produce and assume his permission.  If he notifies me otherwise, I’ll gladly take it down.

David Emmett Chart

Emmett Chart1





Emmett Chart2








victory helmetFactor in the cosmic motion brought on by new ECU and Michelins, and uncharacteristically good performances by names like Barbera and Redding–indeed, much of the Ducati contingent–and you could leave Qatar with three Ducs in the top five.  Then move the entire show to the Middle of Nowhere, Argentina-style for the annual Bungle in the Jungle, aka Hot and Hondarific, two weeks later, followed immediately by another Honda clambake the ensuing week in Austin.

There is no reason to believe the series championship won’t feature at least three manufacturers and five or six riders in the conversation heading to Catalunya.  This could be the year the Hondas get drop-kicked out of the top two.  This could be the year Ducati or Suzuki step up and capture some significant podium spots.  This would be so good for the sport, assuming it doesn’t come attached to the cost of multiple serious Alien highsides involving the Michelins.  And when I say Alien I’m really saying Marquez, whose connection to his Honda seems. at times this year, tenuous.australia-testmaverick-vinales25

My two strongest vibrations this season include Vinales and Redding who, one remembers, would ride the wheels off his Moto2 machine in the corners only to get overtaken consistently on the straights due to his size, which, on the new and improved Ducati, is not a problem.  We overlook him because he’s a Brit, not the usual talented Saxon mother’s son from the formal penal colony of Australia.  He’s not built like a rider, but he’s certainly showing something so far on the Duc.

ReddingVinales is an Alien waiting to happen, looking for that big contract next season, which might even come from Suzuki.  Suzuki needs another two man team and more data; they’re onto something there and they need to wear long pants and do this thing right. They could win the whole thing in a year or two.

Here’s one I’m happy to be wrong about, but Hector Barbera finishing well into the top ten this year would certainly shut me up about Hectic Hector.  While we’re at it, let’s hope that Alvaro Bautista does not become the human bowling ball he was in 2012 and 2013 (?) when he took Pedrosa and Lorenzo out of big races.  Barbera having a good year would give me a reason to sing his praises when he does well, striking a blow for satellite teams everywhere.  People’s favorite rider.  Their least favorite being the factory rider who NEVER podiums.  Several come to mind over the years.  No need to dwell on these guys.

This is my hope.  That in 2016 well will spend as much time discussing Maverick Vinales and Scott Redding as we do Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.  Does such a thing presage less discussion going forward pertaining to Vale Rossi and Dani Pedrosa?  Probably yes.Marquez and Lorenzo

It could all be a colossal pre-season anomaly that goes away midway through the first lap at Losail later this month, when Rossi and Pedrosa emerge from the lights tight on the pipes of Lorenzo and Marquez.  A runoff from Vinales, a slider from Redding and we’re much closer to the status quo of the past few seasons.

There’s a new top three or four spot available on this grid for the year, and someone needs to step up and claim it.  It could be that Matquez takes himself out of too many races, unable to stay upright on the mad dog RC213V, what people used to say about Kawasakis back in the day–fast while they last.  Much like the Ducatis of the pre-Gigi era when they could haul it down the straights like crazy but you couldn’t turn them.  Marquez and Pedrosa, of all the Honda riders, should make the changes necessary.  Less certain on teams like LCR and Mark VDS Beer   Expect to see a lot of DNFs for all of the Hondas in 2016.

dovizioso-iannone-658x437Andrea Iannone should have what it takes to be the top Ducati rider in 2016, meaning he should be a top three contender. So Iannone, Redding and Vinales challenge Lorenzo and Marquez each week and Rossi some weeks, with more of Pedrosa or Barbera late in the season.

As usual, David Emmett is doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to statistical analysis of the pre-season.  I’m also sure he would agree that much of the preseason stuff has nothing to do with what happens when the red starting lights go out at Losail.  Most of us are just happy to have something to cover again.  Let the games begin.




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