The rest of the story – Valencia 2017

© Bruce Allen 2017

For me, the race was pretty engaging, even without a lot of overtaking. The tension at the front was palpable. Zarco drunk with the thought of popping his cherry and that of the entire Monster Tech 3  ecosystem, the best rider on earth keeping a safe distance behind him. Then it was Lorenzo and Dovi for most of the race, confounding, looking to all the world as if Lorenzo was impeding the Italian. Then it’s Marquez going in hot and, with an assist from the racing gods, staying in the race. Then it was the loathsome Lorenzo hitting the deck, followed immediately by Dovi, and that was that.

Well, no. There were some 20 other riders out there, some of whom need mention, a number of whom do not. This post will discuss some of them, the next post the rest.

In the order of their finish for the year, we saw

  • Marc Marquez–see Valencia results below.
  • Andrea Dovizioso likewise. He deserves a new teammate next season.
  • Maverick Vinales on the factory Yamaha, third for the year, with aspirations for a title as the season began. His season ended poorly at Valencia in the dry, as he qualified 13th and finished 12th. He had little to fight for, but the suits were around, and he made them look bad, almost costing Yamaha the #2 spot in the constructor’s championship. Lots of work in store for him and the team over the winter testing season. In the long run 2017 may have been good for the Maverick, disabusing him of any notion he is a god.
  • Dani Pedrosa–see Valencia results below. Next year probably his last with Repsol Honda.
  • Valentino Rossi started and finished seventh; not sure I heard his name called all day. Problems with the bike late in the season frustrating him to no end. More broken bones in 2017. Here’s a thought that will get the juices of #46 fans going: He was better when the competition (men and machines) was weak. Since his last title in 2009, too many great riders have been in his way–Lorenzo, Stoner and Marquez, specifically, with more coming–for him to go on stacking titles. Next year, I believe, will be his last, and he will retire with nine world championships, piles of money, women, power and influence. He can spend the rest of his career Being Valentino Rossi, becoming the Roger Penske of MotoGP. Let’s try not to feel too bad for Vale.
  • Johann Zarco–see Valencia results below. VERY hot ticket for 2019–KTM wants him.
  • Jorge Lorenzo–Gigi should bolt a sidecar to a GP13, don the helmet sans visor, and ride around with him next season, all 19 races, yelling at him in expletive-laced Italian about what a coño he is. Hold a major press conference in May announcing his contract will not be renewed and, no, he doesn’t know who their second rider might be in 2019. Remain in the sidecar through the end of the year.
  • Danilo Petrucci had high expectations heading into the season which were immediately dashed. Sunday was another one of those days, as Petrux finished 13th after starting 15th. Completely gassed after a year wrestling the GP17. New teammate next year in Jack Miller. Super.
  • Cal Crutchlow. Started 16th–nice–and finished eighth on Sunday. Five DNFs in 2017. No wins. Just another tranche 3 rider. Getting a teammate for next year in Taka Nakagami, who should post similar results. Taka comes to the team riding a huge wave of sponsor money which, for LC, is at least as good as superior talent. Ho. Hum.
  • Rounding out the top ten is rookie Jonas Folger, whose promising season was cut to ribbons by injury and illness. His return next year, on some iteration of the Yamaha M1, should be special, and I expect him to push teammate JZ all year long.

We will discuss the remaining riders in a few days. I glanced at testing a few minutes ago (it was on mute, so I’m not up to speed on the bikes) to find Marquez at the top of the sheet along with Zarco, Vinales and Pedrosa. More to come on that, too.



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8 Responses to “The rest of the story – Valencia 2017”

  1. Michael H Coleman Says:

    Bruce, why does everybody keep predicting that Dani Pedrosa will retire? He is fast and steady enough to grab a win or two every year and makes a good and reliable wing man for Marquez. What else can he do? He does a good job for his team and is from what I can see easy on his equipment. He looks like he is still enjoying himself, unlike Lorenzo who looks decidedly unhappy. Of all the riders he is the one that should be quietly shown the door.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      I think the factory Honda team expects more. Dani can no longer compete on cold tracks. Period. His reward for years of loyal service was his current contract. He could help an Aprilia or Suzuki team gather data in 2019 and perhaps 2020. But he’s old in racing years and hasn’t won a title for Honda in 11 seasons. But a nice guy.


      • Old MOron Says:

        I think it will depend on how Morbidelli acclimates. If he’s fast, Honda may put him on the second Repsol bike. If he’s another Rabat, Honda will keep Dani long enough to see how Mir and Fenati progress.


  2. Allison Sullivan Says:

    I saw this morning that the official line from Ducati is now “The team made a mistake. Lorenzo wasn’t holding Dovi up. We got it wrong”. WTF?

    My company pays me for what I do. They say jump, I ask how high. I don’t think that I know better than the people paying me, turn up my middle finger, and continue doing whatever the hell I want regardless. You know what would happen if I did that? I’d get fired. And rightfully so. And I’m not even playing with multi million dollar budgets.

    When the order came to GTFO, Lorenzo should have gotten TFO. No ifs, buts or I’m-in-the-seat-so-I-know-better. He absolutely should be toast for that – and moreso because it was twice in two races. That Ducati is covering his ass is horseshit. Ugh.

    Anyway, roll on testing. And next season. Carry on.


  3. Bryan Townsend (Vrooom) Says:

    I thought Folger was going to outperform Zarco at one point this season. He never got a chance. Will Aleix E get a podium on the Apriia in 2018? Someone posted on MO that Aprilia was behind KTM in development, but it seems like the opposite is true based on the testing results. It’s racing that counts though.


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