MotoGP returns, sort of

© Bruce Allen    September 14, 2021

MotoGP Round 13: Aragon

OK, so I can’t do this yet. I did watch all three races Sunday and have this to offer.

In Moto3, Pedro Acosta has assumed the mantle of The Blessed Rider of 2021, crashing out of the proceedings, only to be followed later in the race by a gagging Sergio Garcia, who, tampered with no doubt by The Racing Gods, crashed out of a podium spot and a chance to make the 2021 Moto3 championship competitive. The race tightened up behind Garcia, but who cares? Acosta’s lead stays at 46 points with five rounds left. This was his first, and probably last, DNF of the season. He’s been promoted to the best team in Moto2 for next season. The world is his oyster, as it were.

In Moto2, it was all Raul Fernandez up front, once Sam Lowes crashed out of the lead on Lap 13, which our erstwhile reporter predicted on Lap 2 (see notes). Remy Gardner (P2) and Fernandez will remain teammates next year in the big leagues; it’s almost as if they’re joined at the wrists and ankles. Of the two, all of my money is on the 20-year old Fernandez in the Most Likely to Become an Alien poll. There just aren’t any great Anglo riders, besides which I have a distaste for nepotism in all its forms.

IMG-4327

Lots of crashers on Sunday, one of whom, Marco Bezzecchi, waved goodbye to his last remaining title hopes. He may still get promoted to MotoGP, if not this coming year then the th year following.

The MotoGP race devolved into one of the great two-man chases of recent memory, with 6-time MotoGP champ Marc Marquez, still on the mend from an injury suffered last year, chasing young Alien-in-Waiting Pecco Bagnaia and his Ducati all day, from the holeshot won by the Italian to the last three laps, which were stunning. Seven times Marquez showed Bagnaia his front wheel, and seven times Bagnaia denied him. Bagnaia, the second coming of Jorge Lorenzo without the bluster, has the high squeaky voice you want in your Italian race winners for their post-race interviews, in which they often sound like they’re on helium. Bagnaia was due, anyway. I look forward to watching these two battle for the next few years.

Have I mentioned sometime this year that there is a s**tload of fast young riders out there these days, on great machines. Marquez and Fabio, Bagnaia and Jorge Martin and Franco and Miller and Mir and even old Aleix. Pedro Acosta just turned 17. Knowing that at least one of you will, I haven’t bothered to look at total race times this year compared to years past, but I expect they’re going down gradually, but consistently.

If you look at point totals since Germany and divide the grid accordingly, you get as close to a legit tranche as anyone. Here are the standings since Sachsenring:

1.       Quartararo             99

Mir                        79

Binder                    74

Bagnaia                  73

2.       M Marquez             63

A Espargaro           52

Martin 52

3.       Rins                       45

Miller                     39

Zarco       36              

Oliveira                  33

Nakagami              33

4.       P Espargaro            26

Lecuona                 25

A Marquez              24

Vinales                   20

5.       Bastianini               16

Marini                    15

Rossi                     14

(Morbidelli)

There’s a little weirdness going on in these ranking, but facts is facts. And it doesn’t really matter what you might have done early in the year if you’re not doing it now.

Vinales and Rossi are done and dusted. The MotoGP neighborhood has changed over. Parties on the weekends are going to keep getting better.

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22 Responses to “MotoGP returns, sort of”

  1. Mike Says:

    Welcome back Bruce, do what you can, we understand.
    Best Regards;
    Old Mike in Canada

    Like

  2. Starmag Says:

    Many may not agree, but it’s great to see Antman coming back for some theatrics. Without him this would have been a boring Lorenzo-style win for Baggy.

    M1r hardly gets mentioned, even though he’s the champ and has been consistently good this year as last. He and Baggy need a miracle or crash from El Diablo, who is now showing consistency himself, to have a chance at the title.

    El Diablo sure put the screws to Pop Gun and Methuselah, showing everyone with eyes that their constant complaining about the bike/tires/crew for YEARS was just cover for their inability to run with the young dogs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dmensch Says:

      Agreed that it’s good to have Marquez back. Also good to not see him wiping the floor with everyone. Shocking amount of young talent out there, but if Marquez gets all the way back to 2019 form there might still be just one alien?

      The last three laps reminded me of about half of the great Dovi/Marc last lap duels: foiled attempts at block passes. Almost like Bagnaia was watching old race replays.

      Nerd with a spreadsheet notes: last year after 13 races (only 14 last year) vs. so far this year:
      Points/Ranking/Rider
      2020
      171 1 Joan Mir
      142 2 Franco Morbidelli
      138 3 Álex Rins
      125 4 Andrea Dovizioso
      122 5 Pol Espargaró
      127 6 Maverick Viñales
      112 7 Jack Miller
      125 8 Fabio Quartararo
      100 9 Miguel Oliveira
      105 10 Takaaki Nakagami

      2021
      214 1 Fabio Quartararo
      161 2 Francesco Bagnaia
      157 3 Joan Mir
      137 4 Johann Zarco
      129 5 Jack Miller
      117 6 Brad Binder
      96 7 Aleix Espargaró
      95 8 Maverick Viñales
      87 9 Miguel Oliveira
      79 10 Marc Márquez

      Liked by 1 person

      • Starmag Says:

        I cut Antman some slack on those barges. Race direction could have penalized him but didn’t. He’s frustrated at a slow recovery and his brain is writing checks his body can’t cash. Without the ability to make saves with his weakened shoulder/arm, he’s just another fast rider. He was unbelievable in 2019. Simply capable of doing what no one else could, crushing the field. I hope he gets that back, but many won’t, liking instead a variety of winners, which I understand.

        I wonder what happened to MO. He was raging there for awhile.

        Zarc the Shark and The Thrilla’ are real long shots at this point.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. dmensch Says:

    So as not to disappoint Bruce, here’s my attempt at some 2021 (first rows) vs. 2020 (indented rows) race times:
    41 46.412 Portugal (Algarve)
    41 48.163
    41 05.602 Spain SPA (Jerez)
    41 23.796
    41 22.666
    47 25.473 France FRA (LeMans)
    45 54.736
    40 21.749 Catalonia CAT (Catalunya)
    40 33.176
    41 44.422 Aragon ARA (Aragon)
    41 54.391
    41 47.652
    I can’t remember why LeMans was slower this year?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Bruce Allen Says:

    Cool, thanks.

    Like

  5. Allison Sullivan Says:

    Glad you got to watch the racing this weekend Bruce! As it turns out you’re way ahead of me, I’ve only had a chance to watch the last five minutes of the main event.

    I’m impressed that you take notes during the race. I just drink beer (wine if I’m feeling couth) and throw things at the television.

    Like

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      I remember attending the 2009 Indianapolis round, sitting in the press box and all, the daily paper’s sports guys scratching their heads. I literally asked one of them, “How do you watch these things?” and he said he had no idea. I ended up watching most of it on the Dorna video feed. I’ve always had to take notes because, unlike yourself, I am/was a highly overcompensated motorsports authority, not some wayward Canuck biker chick yelling at the screen. You need to reconfigure your life, watch more races, and tell me what happened.

      Like

  6. Prakasit Says:

    You expect us to make out what you wrote with that handwriting, Bruce?
    Kidding aside, I think you are on point regarding the up and comers. What makes it even more interesting for me is that Marquez decided to put out a notice to all of them that they will have to get pass him first.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vrooom Says:

    Those were some great laps with Marquez and the Bag man dueling it out. Pecco took to Marquez each time as he’d go into a corner hot, over brake, Pecco would slide through and they’d repeat. Hope you are doing well Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Buzz Says:

    Bringing my yellow smoke to Austin one last time.

    Like

  9. Old MOron Says:

    Everyone says MM is still recovering, but I don’t buy it.
    Before his injury, he tried exactly the same stuff with Dovi.
    I don’t believe he’s lost a step. I think his rivals are stronger.

    And I don’t believe our Brucey has lost a step either.
    Same halfhearted tranching. Same obvious conclusions. Same better than I could do!

    Like

    • Starmag Says:

      Antman still frequently comes in from practices holding his shoulder and isn’t yet capable of using his elbow to make front end saves. If he does get that back, look out. Time will tell. Until then, he’s still a podium contender.

      Like

  10. Bruce Allen Says:

    “Obvious conclusions.” Grrrr. I chose to use points to tranche the grid because I haven’t been paying attention. I have actually lost a step–especially in the writing I do away from motorcycles–and it’s a concern, but I suspect it’s short term. This whole grief thing is a lot harder than I had expected. And it seems unbecoming to be cracking jokes at the expense of Maverick Vinales at a time like this.

    Like

    • Old MOron Says:

      Maybe you can let MotoGP be your muse. Let your irreverent freak flag fly. As for Pop Gun, he writes his own punch lines. I’ll be laughing more this weekend. I’m sure.

      Like

  11. Old MOron Says:

    Pop Gun topped the sheets today, fair and square.
    He noted that his speed was due to his having practiced at this track at the end of August. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the paddock catches up with him.
    There is rain forecast throughout the weekend. Pop Gun didn’t do too well in the afternoon’s wet session.

    The Ducatis went well in the wet. Fabio was mediocre.
    A wet race might see BaggyEyes making up significant ground in the championship.

    Like

  12. Old MOron Says:

    Well, FP4 is supposed to be the best predictor of race pace, so let’s have a look at that.

    Click to access Analysis.pdf

    Fabio looks great. BaggyEyes is there, too, but Fabio has a few tenths on him, and he looks more consistent.

    Alex Rins, Brucey’s old favorite before he unceremoniously dumped him for Joan Mir, is going to challenge for the win – but he’ll have to work hard starting from the third row of the grid.

    But wait, there’s a 58% chance of rain at race time tomorrow!
    https://www.wunderground.com/hourly/it/misano-adriatico/IMISAN3/date/2021-09-19

    We’d better look at FP2, this weekend’s wet practice session.
    Oh no, Fabio sucked in wet conditions. On the other hand, the Ducatis of Zarco, BaggyEyes and Miller looked very strong.

    Click to access Analysis.pdf

    Hmm, Zarco starts from the middle of the 2nd row tomorrow. If it’s raining, he’s in for the win – unless Ducati give him the old “Mapping 8”. If Zarco is in first position and BaggyEyes in second, and if Fabio is down the order, we just might see it.

    PS: How about Naughty Fenati starting from pole position in Moto3?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Glad to see someone finally picked up the torch and limped down the road with it. I’m in Chicago with family, licking my wounds, and will be on the road tomorrow during the Moto2 and MotoGP tilts. 🙁

      Like

      • Old MOron Says:

        In Chicago? In the bosom of your family?
        Sounds like a good place to be.
        Safe travels, Brucey.

        Like

      • Starmag Says:

        Hopefully you’ve avoided the pay-to-be-stuck-in-a-traffic-jam toll roads. That’s what I imagine hell to be like.

        At least it’s still summer so you don’t have to fend off “The Hawk”.

        Kudos to Pecco. Two in a row holding off Antman then El Diablo.

        Like

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