MotoGP 2022 – Aragon Round 15

Fabio crashes, the championship tightens up, and Marc Marquez is getting flamed

Looking back over the season this coming winter, (I know, right?) one may conclude that Round 15 was the decisive race in a terrific season in which, with five rounds to go, there are still four riders with a genuine chance to title. My original thesis this season–that consistency (not crashing) would be the determining factor–is proving true. Almost. Somehow, somewhere, the law of averages is beavering away, tagging each rider with the “likely to crash again” label, others with the “hasn’t crashed enough, is long overdue” tag. Yes, that means that the law of averages is of absolutely no help in predicting the 2022 champion.

The race itself, in a nutshell, went something like this. Aleix, a few of the Ducatis, and rugged KTM pilot Brad Binder got off to quick starts. Marc Marquez, in his latest return to racing, failed to make it out of Q1, starting in P15. When the lights went out, #93 decided to damn the torpedoes and head for the front, carving up the field, elbows out, narcissistically unconcerned about the fortunes of the riders actually competing for the championship. (This is early on Lap 1, friends, with a full tank and cold tires.) In the thick of things (P7) surrounded by contenders, Marquez had a moment which resulted in championship leader Fabio Quartararo piling into the rear of his bike, parting company with his YZR-M1, going boom on the asphalt, down and out.

Poetic justice saw to it that the collision would render the #93 bike unrideable by Lap 2. Marquez discovered an issue involving his rear tire and a crumpled fairing by clattering Takaa Nakagami out of the race later in Lap 1. Having knocked Quartararo off his safe perch in the title chase, with virtually nothing to gain, he retired from the race, changed into regular clothing, and returned to the pits, to the catcalls and jeers of everyone not wearing Repsol black, red and orange.

Anyway. Most of the race had Pecco Bagnaia blazing the trail, with EBas, Aleix and the gritty Binder in hot pursuit. Mostly processional until the last two laps, when the prospect of the two fastest riders in the game on the fastest machine in the game becoming teammates next year came into sight, the 2023 team championship having become a foregone conclusion. With both riders able to summon fast laps late in the race, both able to conserve rubber at full race distance, MotoGP 2023 is looking a lot like F1 back in the day when Schumacher and Barrichello owned the world. Italian engineering on full display.

Essentially, Bastianini calmly put Bagnaia in his rearview midway through Lap 23 after dogging him all day. Aleix and his Aprilia passed Binder for the final podium spot on Lap 22. Bastianini, it seems, likes the effect he has on other riders when he’s on their rear wheel with two laps left. Pecco is as fast as fast gets, the second coming of Jorge Lorenzo in appearance and riding style. But he doesn’t seem to have the fire in the belly that his new teammate possesses. My money will be on EBas to win the 2023 title.

Here are the before and after shots of the 2022 MotoGP title, post Aragon:

Rider Points after Austria Points after Aragon 2022 DNF/DNS Manufacturer

Quartararo 211 211 2 Yamaha

Bagnaia 181 201 4 Ducati

AEspargaro 178 194 0 Aprilia

Bastianini 138 163 4 Ducati

All season long we have been saying, along with the entire Sioux nation, that Fabio would have to have what amounts to a perfect race every time out in order to repeat as world champion. And he has been riding the wheels off his vastly inferior Yamaha. But he faltered at Assen and got skittled yesterday, events which the Brits currently refer to as “wet lettuce.” Again, as predicted, we are sticking with Pecco Bagnaia as the 2022 world champion. Despite four DNFs, he has the wind at his back, while Fabio has contusions all up and down his torso from yesterday.

Looking at the upcoming tracks (not sure about Thailand) it appears the Ducati phalanx will enjoy Motegi (stop and shoot) as well as Phillip Island and Sepang, both long and wide. Fabio, being the Yamaha phalanx, may have a bit of an advantage at Buriram and Valencia. Unfortunately, I suspect that his performance in Round 20 will have little to do with the title. And then there’s Aleix, still in the hunt, still not having turned his RS-GP over after 15 tries. Overdue? Cautious? Blessed? A great dark horse for a wager if you’re into that sort of thing. If he maintains his season-long consistency, and both Quartararo and Bagnaia have another off between now and November, it could be an Espargaro wearing the crown in 2022. THAT would be fun.

I watched both races on the undercard. My only real interest these days is trying to identify future Aliens amongst the array of teenage prodigies toiling in the “lightweight” classes. In Moto3, I really like Izan Guevara, who is going to win the title this year and just turned 18 in June. Another fast kid is this David Munoz, #44, who just turned 16 in the spring and has begun terrorizing the grizzled veterans.

In Moto2 it was Vote for Pedro day again, as Acosta made a convincing case for returning to the presumptive Alien class in the foreseeable future. Despite breaking his femur at Assen, he has come back and, at least yesterday, looked again like he did in Moto3 last year, when he was tagged as a phenom. He will likely win the Moto2 title next year for KTM and get bounced up to MotoGP in 2024.

The first Asian flyaway rounds are coming up starting this week. Imagine having raced in Aragon and having five days to prepare/pack to travel to Japan and Thailand. Then a week off, then freezing at Phillip Island and, broiling at Sepang, where Pecco will clinch the title, before finishing, as usual, on the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Damn, this is fun.

This from our mid-season report after Assen: The GasGas duo of Garcia and Guevara is, once again, putting a thorough Teutonic beatdown on the grid, same as Gardner and Fernandez did last year in Moto2. I fully believe Guevara is a future Alien and perhaps the most impressive of the impressive crop of young riders passing through the intermediate classes in the past 3-4 years. Young Izan should continue this trend, as it appears both he and teammate Garcia will graduate into Moto2 for 2023.

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13 Responses to “MotoGP 2022 – Aragon Round 15”

  1. Buzz Says:

    Great coverage Bruce. #93 deserves the scorn. I realize the guy is wired differently than most but taking out the championship leader and a Honda on the FIRST LAP was a total dick move.

    I heard the announcers keep referring to Beast Mode which was a term used for former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch. He should get royalties.

    Like

  2. SomeRandomPerson Says:

    Which is worse: following Marc Marquez or being followed by Enea?

    Like

  3. Starmag Says:

    Of course Antman is aggressive, that’s why he has so many championships. He did nothing wrong, he didn’t run into anyone and he lost traction for a sec and had to close the throttle.

    Neither El Diablo or Naka blamed him for those incidents. Hodgey, who is no Antman fan even said they were just racing incidents. Dorna did nothing, and after penalizing El Diablo and not Naka for running into other riders in previous races, I’m sure they are closely analyzing every incident.

    Whoever is flaming him hasn’t read the El Diablo and Naka interviews.

    If he can remain uninjured (iffy for sure on the High Side Honda), he’ll be a factor next year.

    El Diablo had a second accident on the way to the medical center on a scooter! Not his day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old MOron Says:

      I agree they were racing incidents. On the other hand, MM officially announces, “I have a 1% podium chance,” then rides like it’s the last corner when it’s really the first. I can see why people are annoyed.

      Like

      • Bruce Allen Says:

        I agree with Burns. He had no business up there fucking around with contenders.

        Like

      • Starmag Says:

        I can’t. He’s not the only one who quickly moved up. That’s normal on starts.

        After being penalized for being too aggressive and ramming at the start in a previous race, which Antman did not do, I’m sure El Diablo was glad he didn’t get penalized for it again. Can you imagine the sniveling if the roles were reversed? If Antman had ran into El Diablo?

        Again, read the interviews with both ED and Naka.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      High Side Honda. I may steal that one.

      Like

  4. Allison Sullivan Says:

    Super busy weekend, only saw the highlights, which was fine given it wasn’t the most exciting race of the year, save for the skittles on lap 1. My good friend, who is no #93 fan, was blowing up my phone and foaming at the mouth after that race. He has a point though … when Marquez starts from that far back, it always spells trouble. The footage from the bingle with Taka was interesting – it’s hard to tell whether Marc was looking around to see what he’d hit, or whether he was looking around to make sure he hit it again. Either way, Taka was very, VERY lucky he didn’t get squashed, saved only by some very quick reactions behind him.

    Enea Bastianini … what was the line? Hey Pecco, tell your mom I said hi? I’m a fan. So composed for a relative rookie. Kid is, as my weightlifting coach says, unf***withable. Solid as a rock.

    So … flyaway rounds now, so fun! It seems like years. Oh wait, it is. Gonna be fun. Any bets on whether Valencia gets to decide?

    Like

    • Starmag Says:

      Ant man said that he didn’t know, of course, that a piece of El Diablo’s aero had gotten lodged in his swingarm so he hit the ride height device button for the next corner and it made him swerve when that piece jammed even further.

      “So … flyaway rounds now, so fun! It seems like years. Oh wait, it is.” Some of the funniest things are previously unspoken truths. +1

      Like

  5. Vrooom Says:

    Quartaro hitting Marquez from behind just seemed like a case of Matquez going a bit too fast on lap 1 and losing grip. But having another incident on the same lap where you take out a fellow Honda rider is less understandable. Still pulling for Aleix, but Pecco and Enea are making it tough.

    Like

  6. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    I think people are being a little too hard on Marc. Who would expect a 6-time MotoGP champion to NOT try their hardest in a race? If he didn’t have that inopportune rear slide and instead flew to a top five finish, the press would be raving about how Marc is Back, ‘normal service resumed’. But he did slip, hitch up, slow, and become a rolling bollard for poor Fabio who was right there on his ass, expecting the amazing Marquez to blaze a trail. Instead the only blaze was that searing red one on Fabio’s chest (why doesn’t that guy wear an undersuit like most other riders). The rider I feel sorriest for was Taka, who was minding his own business when Marc drifted his stricken bike right into him and dumped him off in the path of the following herd. It could have only been scarier if they were ice racing. Luckily he didn’t get seriously hurt. Baggy and the Beast will Duke it out the rest of the season, and unless Baggy finds something extra, or team orders intervene, The Beast is likely to steal points enough to give both Aleix and Fabio a chance. As you said, Bruce, Fun!

    Like

  7. vassilg Says:

    Marquez got some history messing with points leader in championship not going to his plan. 🙂 His problems in not in the arm, but in the head.

    Honda developed a bike only suited to him and he make the bike and the team looks the worst on the grid. I don’t understand how factory team can spend 50m and looks so lost. Look at Ducati. Does not matter who is on the podium. Everybody can win on Ducati. They are everywhere on the screen. No better advert then that. This is the reason why they spend money in racing. Not to promote selfish or crazy riders. Marquez give Honda exactly opposite. If he crash is because the bike is shit. If he wins is despite the shity bike.

    Liked by 1 person

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