MotoGP 2022 Round 6: Gran Premio Red Bull de España (Jerez)

Practice and Qualifying

Alex Rins and Joan Mir dominated the proceedings on Friday, to a resounding “Who cares?” from the rabid, mostly Spanish crowd. FP3 on Saturday morning saw Pecco Bagnaia and his Ducati GP22 rise from the ashes of a miserable start to the 2022 season to lead the combined practice standings, trailed by Fabulous Fabio and (who?) Takaa Nakagami, making a cameo appearance, along with his satellite Honda, near the top of the time sheets. Marc Marquez continued his epic struggles in 2022, needing a tow from Jack Miller to scrounge P4, with Miller the last of ten riders to move directly into Q2..

Q1 saw rookie Marco Bezzecchi (a continuing surprise to me) hovering near the top for the entire session, ending up in P2 and moving on to Q2 after Johann Zarco, who seems to do something like this every time out, laid down a late burner to take P1 and bump hard-luck Pol Espargaro to P13 on Sunday’s grid. Alex Rins and Brad Binder looked capable of moving through but were unable to reach deep enough.

Q2 was, as always, a heart-stopper. With crashes from Jorge Martin, Joan Mir and Enea Bastianini bringing out a bevy of yellow flags, the battle for pole went like this:

Rider             Time left when taking the lead

J. Mir                               10:30

J. Miller                              9:00

P. Bagnaia                          8:50

F. Quartararo                      8:45

Bagnaia                              2:45          1:36.170 new track record

Bagnaia’s lap was half a second faster than Quartararo, which equates to an hour in dog years. The first three rows in Sunday’s race, from which the winner will doubtless emerge given how tight the layout is, include Quartararo, Aleix Aprilia, Miller, M Marquez, Zarco and the pesky Nakagami, punching above his weight, along with Bezzecchi and Mir. The weather forecast for Sunday looks perfect.

Race Day

Once again, Jerez failed to disappoint the thousands of sober, drunk and/or stoned Spaniards in attendance. Speaking from experience, the combination of hot weather and stimulants can often cause unconsciousness. Not today, as all three of the internal combustion-powered races had something for every taste and budget. In Moto3, seventeen year-old sophomore sensation Izan Guevara showed remarkable race craft as he swept from P4 at the end of LP 21 to take the win away from countrymen Sergio Garcia and Jaume Masia. KTM Turk Deniz Oncu led the majority of the race, but got de-pantsed at the end by the Spanish trio. Today’s top finishers occupy four of the top slots in the 2022 race, with the mysterious Dennis Foggia finishing out of the points. His deficit to series leader Garcia grew from a single point to a discouraging 21. With last year’s rookie sensation Pedro Acosta having a difficult go of things up in Moto2, Guevara seems to have seized the title of The Next Great Spanish Rider. Dude doesn’t look old enough to shave.

The Moto2 tilt featured a wire-to-wire exhibition by Ai Ogura, who has been tipped for greatness for a couple years despite never having stood on the top step of the podium. That all changed today, as he opened a can of whup-ass on the grid and was never seriously challenged. Joined on the podium by Aron Canet, riding with a freshly broken arm, and an increasingly impressive rookie Tony Arbolino, Ogura seized the title of The Rider Most Likely to Unseat Takaa Nakagami on the MotoGP Idemetsu LCR Honda next year. The Moto2 championship after Round 6 features leader Celestino Vietti (100 pts), Ogura with 81, Arbolino with 70, tough-as-a-$2-steak Canet at 69, and the Great American Hope, Joe Roberts, barely in the picture in P5 with 57 points, possibly in contention for The Next Colin Edwards award.

The MotoGP race was billed all weekend as a showdown between Ducati pilot Pecco Bagnaia and smooth as silk Fabio Quartararo, the only one of four riders able to get a single frigging thing out of the Yamaha YZR-M1. The race, indeed, featured #63 and #20 in a daylong battle, with Quartarao unable to put his front wheel in front of Bagnaia for even a split second. The two ended up, like, 10 seconds in front of eventual P3 finisher Aleix Espargaro, who will get the blame for Aprilia having lost its treasured concessions going forward. Aleix took advantage of a mistake by Marc Marquez on Lap 22, eating Jack Miller’s lunch at the same time and moving from P5 to P3, where he remained for the rest of the race. Marquez took out his anger on Miller on the last lap to take P4, a surprisingly robust finish given the fact that he was unable to turn a fast lap all weekend without stealing a blatant tow from several faster riders. It appears that Marquez has regained his previously dominant form while the 2022 RC213V is a dog. Marquez fans can hope that next year’s iteration of the bike will be up to their previous standards; there appears to be nothing wrong with the eight-time world champion.

Today’s P2 for Quartararo allowed him to establish a lead in the 2022 championship of seven (7) points over the now-scary Aleix Espargaro, who finally has a competitive ride beneath him and is showing the race craft of a veteran of 13 frustrating premier class seasons. Suzuki enigma Alex Rins slipped from a tie for P1 into a tie for P3 with Enea Bastianini, whose early-season magic has faded somewhat of late. Bagnaia’s haul of 25 points today puts him at 56 for the season. Last year, he waited until Round 13 at Aragon to make any noise; he appears to have started early this season, and must be viewed as the most serious challenger to Quartararo for the 2022 championship.

The fervent nationalism found in MotoGP left a number of fans cursing today, with a Japanese rider and a cursed Italian standing on the Moto2 podium and another cursed Italian and a cursed Frenchman occupying the top two steps of the MotoGP podium. Everywhere else it was all Spaniards, cold consolation for having a single Spanish race winner at (one of) the Spanish Grands Prix (out of a total of four on the calendar). The premier class appears to be a lost cause for Spain this year with only Aleix and Rins in serious contention; neither has been close to a MotoGP title in a combined 19 premier class seasons. Perhaps the Aprilia is enough bike to propel Aleix to a championship in 2022; the smart Euros, however, are being bet on Bagnaia, with Quartararo attracting a healthy number of French wagers.. The season is unfolding as expected, with a half dozen credible threats to win it all in 2022.

Le Mans beckons in two weeks, followed by Mugello. Life is good in MotoGP. Plus, the brolly girls are back. There’s also an image of the massive Jerez Cathedral for your pleasure.

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22 Responses to “MotoGP 2022 Round 6: Gran Premio Red Bull de España (Jerez)”

  1. Buzz Says:

    I’m more interested in what Flounder thinks about all this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Starmag Says:

    Will Baggy return to the consistency of the end of last season?

    Will El Diablo take another run at the title?

    Will Antman be able to make return-to-form amazing saves like the one today so he doesn’t eat loads-O-gravel?

    Will he be able to do it enough until he gets the hang of the new Honda or Honda figures it out?

    Will he surpass Pedro and take the crown of Titanium Man?

    Will Espeleta hold out against the dark forces of political correctness and allow Brollie girls to do want they WANT to do?

    The answer to these questions and more on the next installment of The Amazing Adventures Of MotoGp!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Asking questions and letting them go unanswered is a cheap trick favored by hack journalists. Get off my lawn.

      Like

      • Starmag Says:

        LOL. That was just a riff on Batman narration, I thought I’d make it interesting, because the race was a bit of a snoozer. It’s great news that someone thinks I’m movin’ on up to Hack Journalist from lowly wise-guy high school drop out pain-in-the-ass commenter. I’m hoping that raises my pay grade, but I won’t be holding my breath.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    As Starmag mentioned, Marc Marquez saved a front end slide on his left knee and elbow just like old times. If he can do that on his right now too, then the great MM may be back.

    All of the races today were great, but I especially liked the fights in Moto3 and MotoE. I sure wish DORNA would ditch those stupid track limits warnings at least in those two classes, because the corner battles are so intense a little extra room is needed for safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Old MOron Says:

    Bah! Today’s Moto GP race was a parade.
    Brucey’s narrative makes it seem more exciting than it was.
    Good onya, Bruce! You’ve still got it.

    Okay okay, Marc’s elbow save was an awesome sight to behold. And Miller put on a great show keeping him at a bay for so long. And Aprilia’s loss of concessions, courtesy of Aleix’s grit and skill, were all fun and significant elements of the season. I suppose Suzuki’s failure to be a factor is also an important consideration.

    I predict Fabio will get a significant pay rise next season. Every other manufacturer has vacancies on its factory squad, and every one of them would benefit from having Fabio at the handlebar. Yamaha will pay dearly to keep him.

    Speaking of Yamaha, and relating it back to Aleix Espargaro, I think Aleix proved his mettle WAY BACK when he was riding a Yamaha for one of the “Claiming Rules Teams”. He deserves all the success that Aprilia can facilitate for him, unlike Pop Gun who’d better bring in a lot of sponsorship money if he wants to keep his seat.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Schizuki Says:

    Yawner of a race, aside from a few corners of dicing for third/fourth. But…

    When Alicia Asparagus said last year that he was one of the top three MotoGP riders, ohhhh, did I laugh. I laughed heartily.

    I’m not laughing now. Scoreboard.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Vrooom Says:

    Wonderful to read your prose again Bruce. If I was betting my money I’d go with Quartaro for the championship, and if it was your money I’d go with Aleix for second, that guy is sneaky fast. Aprilia doesn’t need the concessions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Spiff Says:

    First off, Quatararo’s umbrella girl was stunning (31:35).

    Binder needs to get his shit together. Qualify mediocre, race mediocre… still top KTM.

    I hope Aleix is enjoying this. He is on the gravey train, deserving so. It doesn’t last forever, and I’m rooting for him.

    Does the Pug regret bringing on Pol? He is behind the Honda’s evolution. Bruce, you think Marquez is still that good?

    If Quatararo couldn’t get by Pecco here imagine what it will be like with a straight away.

    Overall not a barn burner, but one of the better hours out of my week.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. vassilg Says:

    I am very suprised to hear that Suzuki is leaving MotoGP at the end of the season. Interesting where will Rins and Mir go.

    Like

  9. Some Random Guy Says:

    Grsini brolly girl does it for me.

    Like

  10. paulevalence Says:

    The Marquez save was the highlight of the race for me. The rest of the race was as boring as folding laundry (which is what I was doing while watching)

    Like

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