MotoGP Quick Takes

© Bruce Allen

The following is meant to fill the “dead air” resulting from MotoGP decisions which allow three weeks between races. These happen two or three times a year, proof positive that the teams and manufacturers have more clout than the poor schlubs in marketing who try to develop interest in the sport. Just as the season enjoys something of a “cymbal crash,” such as we experienced in Qatar, there’s this multi-week void of action, with little more than vids of the riders’ cats on minibikes…

Given the plethora of errors and omissions, for which I have insurance, in the Qatar race results article I am compelled to present a fast summary of what I have learned and/or now know as relates to the state of the sport. Let’s start with my boy Pecco Bagnaia, defending Moto2 champion on the Pramac Ducati GP18. He was my dark horse for a podium, but, as we’ve learned, got his right aero wing trashed, accidentally, by factory teammate Danilo Petrucci in the sauce at Turn 1 of Lap 1. By mid-race it was flapping like the baseball cards clothes-pinned to the front fork of your bicycle when you were a kid. I retain high hopes for young Bagnaia at the more Ducati-friendly tracks on the calendar.

Jorge Lorenzo, on the heels of a 13th place finish at Qatar, let it be known that he suffered a rib “fissure” on his welcome-to-Honda high-side on Saturday, and that he hopes to be fit in time for Argentina on March 29-31. We’ve watched the guy ride five days after having a titanium splint and half a dozen pins surgically inserted into his collarbone. A cracked rib would be unlikely to keep JLo out of the second round of the season if the race were tomorrow.

All four of the rookie graduates of Moto2 have reason to feel pretty good about themselves with the 2019 curtain raised. Bagnaia, with the Lorenzo-style of riding on the formidable Desmosedici, cutting his MotoGP teeth on the red machine, is going to be a force. Fabio Quartaro, the impudent French teenager, could have had himself a dreamy debut in the desert were it not for a silly, grade-school mistake at the start, stalling his bike. Dude lost 10 seconds starting from pit row, fought his way back and through the back markers, ultimately finishing 16th, just out of the points, 15 seconds behind Dovi. Herve Poncharal is all warm and fuzzy about Miguel Oliveira and his progress on the KTM R16. True or not, it’s good for Oliveira, who has a long row to hoe, to hear such things from the boss. And Joan Mir, wingman to Alex Rins on the factory Suzuki, looks eerily like the guy we watched dominate Moto3 in 2017. Despite having under-performed in Moto2, I’m just sayin’ that give that young man a year or two and a few more horses under him and he will be off to the races.

MotoE, the aspiring new class of electric racing bikes debuting their own championship this year, suffered an amazingly bad blow on March 14 at Jerez when a huge fire mostly obliterated everyone’s equipment, all of which having, apparently, been stored in one place. No mention of foul play. The season opener has been postponed and the schedule is being re-written as we speak. There must be an unbelievably furious process going on to get things replaced immediately if the season is to be saved. Somewhere, an insurance company executive is holding his head in his hands, face down on his desk. In Spain, a Dorna executive is hurling a string of profanity at his misfortune, an unfair blow to his corporate aspirations. Act of God or not, Year 1 of MotoE is going to be expensive.

Other than the complete domination of Kalex and Triumph in Moto2–closeout of the top ten–I don’t have that much to say about what’s going on over there. Way too early and I missed the race at Losail. Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi are the big deal graduates of Moto3 moving on up, but Martin just had surgery for arm pump (?) and Bezzecchi had something happen causing him to finish a minute and a half down and out of the points. Alex Marquez doesn’t scare anyone. Badass Baldassarri won Round One. Luca Marini, Enea Bastianini and Xavi Vierge should all be contenders. Tom Luthi, returning to the class after a miserable experience in MotoGP, finished second on the podium, having re-discovered his own personal level of competence. Good on Tom.

Nothing at all on Moto3 so far. I plan to watch all three races in Argentina and will hopefully hear some familiar names called during Moto3 which will hint at who’s fast and who’s not. Otherwise, please rest assured that I’m aware that Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo ride for the satellite Petronas Yamaha team, and that Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin ride for the satellite KTM team. How’s that for insight?



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7 Responses to “MotoGP Quick Takes”

  1. Vrooom Says:

    Just hoping Dovi keeps his head down and keeps riding fast, and Quartaro, Rins, Rossi and Petrucci can all occassionally give Marquez some trouble to at least make it interesting this year. Let Valencia decide it.


  2. Barry_Allen Says:

    Since you’ve got a couple of weeks, try
    You can watch the Moto2 race at your leisure.

    The Triumphs are impressive, and Luthi’s agonizingly slow move up through the field was actually interesting to watch. Maybe the time he spent on a MotoGP bike taught him something about riding a bike with actual torque.

    Just make sure your internet protections (anti-virus, pop-up blocker, etc) are up to date.
    It’s usually the the BT Sport version so as a bonus, you’ll get Colin Edwards in his retirement gig.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Old MOron Says:

    No comment on the Brolly Girl GP?


  4. Starmag Says:

    Here’s few things I’m sadly trying to pass off as intelligence and insight. Don’t be fooled. You were warned.

    1) Betting against El Gato (at least in the dry), could prove to be costly. He should be back at the front by mid season, or does he need the threat of unemployment to perform now?

    2) Rookies – meh, loads of hype and excuses, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    3) DesmoDovi is unlikely to gain the consistency to win a championship. If he does, I’ll be the first to toast him with a nice Chianti. Hold the liver and Fava beans.

    4) “Rins and repeat” podiums will likely be the case this year, especially on shorter tracks.

    5) I’m expecting another sullen year for the Maverick after he admits he can’t use his pole lines in traffic. Yamaha may need to Goose him a bit. He’s getting his ass handed to him by a 40yr old. An exceptional one, but still…

    6) Zarc The Shark wisely substitutes counting podiums with counting money. His now demoted/fired manager/guru/spell caster screwed the pooch for him with the Honda opportunity.

    7) A maturing Ant Man, earning respect with no excuses, is tough as nails, able to ride like no one before, and ever less likely to make rash mistakes. His newly repaired shoulder should make his, um, self-pleasurement easier, so that should have a calming effect on him as well, (provided he doesn’t go blind.) Good luck trying to beat him on a regular basis guys.

    8) An evermore insightful and knowledgeable Allen The Bruce should take care not to lose some of his entertaining sense of humor in pursuit of The Facts. Emmitt may have more insight, but he’s not as fun to read, and I come to you first and then sometimes fill in with David or Oxley ( What the hell is Matt wearing in his avatar pic? He comes off as an alien overlord in that weird collar.)

    9) The results will stand, but Ducati will lose the aero appeal unless the always-possible payola comes out. I doubt there would be four teams pursuing this if they didn’t have a case to be made. Duc says “cooling”( but it was cool in Qatar), Petrux says not for cooling, (he’ll pay for that), vanes point up at the back of the device, indicating downforce, FIM on Mar 2nd says no aero off the main body.

    10) The E-bike verdict is in that it was a short in a battery in a charger that caused the fire of the Shrieking Margarita Blenders. Hmmm… maybe, but seeing as we now( have always?) live on Planet Bullshit, this might be a sly way to not let on to the riders that their slower than a Moto3 bike lithium wonder could be a looming fire bombogenesis (these new words make me laugh, it used to be called a winter storm. lol.). I’m sure they wouldn’t want them thinking about roasted chestnuts seeing as how Christmas is a long way away. Race Planners weren’t dumb and placed that building away from the regular pit area for a very good reason. Dull-sounding, slow, and dangerous, the god of Virtue Signaling, “Selfrighteous The Great”(praise be his name!) demands a mean tribute.

    I hope I didn’t disappoint on your kind request.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      I like it all. I really didn’t think I would get hired again this season, and so didn’t pay as much attention during the offseason as perhaps I should have. And I was so tired by the time I got around to writing the article that my sense of humor had already gone to bed. Argentina will find me back on my feed. Great comments.


  5. Old MOron Says:

    About Vinny:

    In 2017, on the good M1, he scored seven podia:
    three wins
    two seconds
    two thirds

    In 2018, on the crappy M1, he scored five podia:
    one win
    one second
    three thirds

    In 2019 the popular wisdom is that Yamaha are listening to Vinny, developing the bike in his direction. But I wonder if they’ve been doing that since the end of 2017.

    In 2017 Vinny was impressive. He even finished ahead of Vale at the end of the season.[1] It’s possible that Yamaha thought, “Time for the old bull to make way for the young bull.”[2]

    So in 2018 they start to develop the bike in Vinny’s direction. But that was the year of the crappy M1. Zarco, using the old bike, was making the factory team look bad. Out of desperation Yamaha tries to listen to both riders. It doesn’t work.

    Maybe this year they are listening to Vinny again. Maybe he’s matured and he’s giving better feedback. But maybe he’s leading them to a bike that can be fast when ridden unopposed, but can’t compete in the cut-and-thrust of a race.

    Of course as a Vale fan I’m inclined to blame Vinny when the bike doesn’t work, but I think all of the above describes a credible scenario. And I think Vale’s early contract renewal supports it.

    Here is an article from October 2017.
    It says, “Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis does not expect contract extension talks with Valentino Rossi to begin until several races into next year’s campaign.”
    But in fact Vale re-upped in March of 2018, before the first race of the season! Why would he do that? He knows the parable of the old bull and the young bull. Everyone does. Maybe his early commitment was a gambit to persuade Yamaha to listen to him. “This old bull is not going anywhere yet. Listen to me.”

    And maybe it worked to some degree. Yamaha would’ve been developing its bike for Vinny all winter. When the new bike came out, Vale knew it was a turd, so he played his gambit. Yamaha wound up listening to both riders and becoming confused. Didn’t they revert to the 2017 chassis at some point?

    It may already be too late for Yamaha to catch up this season. I hope it isn’t.[3] And I hope Yamaha will listen to Vale.

    [1] That was the year Vale broke his leg, but never mind.
    [2] Paraphrasing Lin Jarvis
    [3] Yamaha are the only factory who did not protest Ducati’s aero swingarm. Maybe they are ready to spend all sorts of money on aero development of their own.


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