Archive for the ‘maverick vinales’ Category

MotoGP: 2022 Rider Lineup SWAG

June 29, 2021

© Bruce Allen  June 29, 2021

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Maverick Vinales, managing his career.

Making the turn on the 2021 season with a long break until Round 10 at Red Bull Ring in August. We have a pretty good contest in the premier class, although your boy Fabio appears to be feeling it. Perhaps the break will cool him off. Or perhaps while laying around sunning himself in Cadiz he’ll contract some kind of, um, social disease. There are riders whose stars are rising and others who are visibly falling. Talk amongst y’selves. I want to talk about the rider lineup for 2022. Not 2023, not looking beyond the one year.

Repsol Honda appears to be set with Marquez and Espargaro. Pol will have to show more next year than he has this year if he intends to keep that seat, as every team on the grid wants a shot at Pedro Acosta after next season, meaning the 17 year-old Moto3 phenom will be signed mid-2022. By someone.

Monstar Yamaha will have Quartararo and A Rider to be Named Later, given Maverick Vinales’ curious defection to Aprilia. Rider ego again, as previously demonstrated by Rossi and Lorenzo–if I’m not The Man, and none of the three were/are–I’m going elsewhere and will show them what they lost. And going to Ducati, as Rossi and Lorenzo did, is a helluva lot different than running off to Aprilia in order to extract vengeance. These ego-driven moves generally don’t work out. Jorge Lorenzo, one of the great riders, was out of the sport two years after making his move.

Lenovo Ducati is set with Miller and Bagnaia.

Suzuki is set with Alex Rins and Joan Mir, although Rins will need to stay on his bike in the first half of 2022 if he wants a new contract thereafter. After an impressive run during his wonder years in the premier class his trajectory was highly positive. It is now flat, accompanied by a host of excuses. Joan Mir is an excellent rider who still needs more bike under him to compete for wins. Podiums, yes; wins, no. When you’re measuring thousandths of a second, a few extra horsepower can make a difference.

Aprilia is “set” with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. My expectations for the team, once again, are minimal. Aleix is good but not great, and I’m glad someone wants Vinales on their team. It says here Aleix Espargaro will be out of MotoGP by the end of 2023.

Red Bull KTM is totally set with Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, with a pipeline of formidable riders building behind them. The same cannot be said for the Tech 3 KTM team, with Remy Gardner on his way up from Moto2, to be joined, in my Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess (see headline), by Iker Lecuona, whose future is not terribly bright but who at least has some experience. It appears my boy Danilo Petrucci is on his way out of MotoGP, which is a shame.

LCR Honda is set with Takaa Nakagami and Alex Marquez, both of whom show occasional flashes, neither of whom is going anywhere in a macro sense. Ai Ogura appears likely to be the next Japanese rider on the MotoGP grid, whether as a replacement for or in addition to Nakagami. It’s too soon to give up on Alex Marquez, but he has a long row to hoe in the next year.

As for the host of satellite Ducati teams, the Gresini Ducati effort appears to be set with Enea Bastianini and a newly-promoted Fabio di Giannantonio. Bastianini is paying dues this year that FDG will be paying next year. Not convinced about either rider at this early stage, but the ghost of Fausto Gresini will be smiling at finally having secured two Italian riders, rather than those stronzo Spaniards he was stuck with for so many years.

Pramac Ducati is set with Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin, fall and spring, experienced and inexperienced, calculating and rookie reckless. Zarco could win himself a championship this year; Martin’s best years are yet to come and he has a world of talent. Not to mention stones the size of manhole covers.

The new Aramco VR46 Ducati team will feature sophomore Luca Marini, brother of the team principal, and another Italian rider, most likely Marco Bezzecchi, up from Moto2. I expect Rossi to field a competitive team in the next three years. We shall see if Marini’s expected job security allows him to search out his potential in a win-or-bin mode, which is easy to do on the Ducati.

Finally, it is hard to watch Marquez struggle in his comeback. Certainly, his crash at Jerez has cost him two seasons. We shall find out whether the bill will be ultimately be bigger than that. I personally hate to think that such a transcendent talent as Marc Marquez would have his time at the top truncated by an injury. Perhaps fans should be grateful he’s not in a wheelchair. Next year, I expect, will tell the story.

I’ll get back on the blog during break if anything worth discussing takes place. Enjoy your summer.


MotoMatters Losail Projections

March 6, 2016

As usual, the work done by my colleague David Emmett on his website is outstanding in its volume and quality.  In his recent article on the subject, he totaled the best 22 laps by each rider in order to re-evaluate the standings provided by best lap only.  He produced the following table, which I’m going to re-produce and assume his permission.  If he notifies me otherwise, I’ll gladly take it down.

David Emmett Chart

Emmett Chart1





Emmett Chart2








victory helmetFactor in the cosmic motion brought on by new ECU and Michelins, and uncharacteristically good performances by names like Barbera and Redding–indeed, much of the Ducati contingent–and you could leave Qatar with three Ducs in the top five.  Then move the entire show to the Middle of Nowhere, Argentina-style for the annual Bungle in the Jungle, aka Hot and Hondarific, two weeks later, followed immediately by another Honda clambake the ensuing week in Austin.

There is no reason to believe the series championship won’t feature at least three manufacturers and five or six riders in the conversation heading to Catalunya.  This could be the year the Hondas get drop-kicked out of the top two.  This could be the year Ducati or Suzuki step up and capture some significant podium spots.  This would be so good for the sport, assuming it doesn’t come attached to the cost of multiple serious Alien highsides involving the Michelins.  And when I say Alien I’m really saying Marquez, whose connection to his Honda seems. at times this year, tenuous.australia-testmaverick-vinales25

My two strongest vibrations this season include Vinales and Redding who, one remembers, would ride the wheels off his Moto2 machine in the corners only to get overtaken consistently on the straights due to his size, which, on the new and improved Ducati, is not a problem.  We overlook him because he’s a Brit, not the usual talented Saxon mother’s son from the formal penal colony of Australia.  He’s not built like a rider, but he’s certainly showing something so far on the Duc.

ReddingVinales is an Alien waiting to happen, looking for that big contract next season, which might even come from Suzuki.  Suzuki needs another two man team and more data; they’re onto something there and they need to wear long pants and do this thing right. They could win the whole thing in a year or two.

Here’s one I’m happy to be wrong about, but Hector Barbera finishing well into the top ten this year would certainly shut me up about Hectic Hector.  While we’re at it, let’s hope that Alvaro Bautista does not become the human bowling ball he was in 2012 and 2013 (?) when he took Pedrosa and Lorenzo out of big races.  Barbera having a good year would give me a reason to sing his praises when he does well, striking a blow for satellite teams everywhere.  People’s favorite rider.  Their least favorite being the factory rider who NEVER podiums.  Several come to mind over the years.  No need to dwell on these guys.

This is my hope.  That in 2016 well will spend as much time discussing Maverick Vinales and Scott Redding as we do Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.  Does such a thing presage less discussion going forward pertaining to Vale Rossi and Dani Pedrosa?  Probably yes.Marquez and Lorenzo

It could all be a colossal pre-season anomaly that goes away midway through the first lap at Losail later this month, when Rossi and Pedrosa emerge from the lights tight on the pipes of Lorenzo and Marquez.  A runoff from Vinales, a slider from Redding and we’re much closer to the status quo of the past few seasons.

There’s a new top three or four spot available on this grid for the year, and someone needs to step up and claim it.  It could be that Matquez takes himself out of too many races, unable to stay upright on the mad dog RC213V, what people used to say about Kawasakis back in the day–fast while they last.  Much like the Ducatis of the pre-Gigi era when they could haul it down the straights like crazy but you couldn’t turn them.  Marquez and Pedrosa, of all the Honda riders, should make the changes necessary.  Less certain on teams like LCR and Mark VDS Beer   Expect to see a lot of DNFs for all of the Hondas in 2016.

dovizioso-iannone-658x437Andrea Iannone should have what it takes to be the top Ducati rider in 2016, meaning he should be a top three contender. So Iannone, Redding and Vinales challenge Lorenzo and Marquez each week and Rossi some weeks, with more of Pedrosa or Barbera late in the season.

As usual, David Emmett is doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to statistical analysis of the pre-season.  I’m also sure he would agree that much of the preseason stuff has nothing to do with what happens when the red starting lights go out at Losail.  Most of us are just happy to have something to cover again.  Let the games begin.




MotoGP: No Jocking Required

March 5, 2016

d7f9e438-0c47-467c-8916-2e7aa309cf6aLorenzo imageI’ve just discovered something I, as a would be writer, loathe.  Note to self:  Never use this technique unless it pertains to, say, the last race of the season, 5 points separating teammates and rivals, Marquez in the mix, in which case it may be permissible to jock the sport while you’re reporting on it.  Otherwise, DO NOT PROMOTE MOTOGP WHILE YOU’RE IN REPORTER MODE.

So I’m reading this nice article—pre-season preview—when it finishes with a jee-whiz-MotoGP-is-SUPERBAD or something equally self-serving; starved, as the writer visibly is, for eyeballs.

So, yes, I think it’s a shame more Americans don’t watch MotoGP and yes, I encourage australia-testmaverick-vinales25people I know and people in the universe to read about it.  But when I’m on deadline, getting paid to think hard about the sport, I’m not taking time out to ponder how I love Michelin tires on my ride.  It’s bad form, especially for someone like me who doesn’t ride at all.  Of course, if I ever found a sponsor willing to buy me a disclaimer, no telling what might happen.  None of the OEMs that MO deals with want to sully their reputations by sponsoring the likes of me, and who can blame them?

I feel no need to stroke Dorna, as they seem to derive pleasure from making the process of credentialing excessive.  One with years writing about this stuff should not have to buy tickets from a scalper in Jerez to report on the GP there, the only halfway serious American journalist bothering to make the trip, on his own dime, and they tell me they can’t find me even the usual lousy credential.  Ended up having way more fun in the crowd anyway.

FIM_LogoWhat my readers expect from me is an objective accounting of events up to and including the race, delivered with as many laughs as I can haul out of th
e closet.  They expect me to call a spade a spade, especially when it involves controversy between riders.  The only rider whose picture sits on my wall is Lorenzo, from Indianapolis in 2010, the year he won his first title.  Under the heading “Saving Grace”, the feed from Dorna is superb, and the very British commentary is helpful.  For those of you condemned to TV—now pay TV in the US—with or without commercial breaks, your coverage sucks.  With the Euro down the drain, it’s a cheap time to buy a video pass and stream the race at your leisure.

IannoneSo, we will call the 2016 season the way we see it.  At this juncture, it looks like Vinales is going to be a top four guy, and even Redding, taking to the Duc like a duc to water, is sniffing around the top of the timesheets.  Pedrosa looks miserable, Marquez desperate to stay on the bike with any pace at all, and Rossi sounding unconvincingly like all the changes work in his favor.  Lorenzo, meanwhile, has that look in his eye.  As he learned in 2011 and 2013, however, the look in the eye thing doesn’t necessarily get you a repeat, a threepeat or a fourpeat.

Jorge looks ready to defend his title actively and vigorously.

Everyone is hoping the rest of the grid fights harder for 10th place, with good fights going on all over the track.  If the elapsed time between the finish of the first and last bikes of last year, or top ten bikes of last year, versus this year show the grid tightening up, that’s what Dorna’s after, and that’s what the satellite teams are pushing for.  Whether anyone but the top four or five riders ever finds their way to the podium is another matter.  The world longs to see some new faces at the press conference.


Let us pray against parades and for flag-to-flag contests and against a championship that gets away from itself in the first eight weeks, with someone emerging at the front by 100 points.  Otherwise, there will always be things to write about.  We will miss Nicky Hayden especially, as he was always good for a laugh.  We pray that Bautista and Bradl don’t end up racing each other for last place each week.  We pray that things end well between Yamaha and 46, and Honda and 26, when the time comes.  And we look forward to meeting the next generation of Aliens, the guys who will take your dollar in a game of reflexes, the guys who can dunk at 5’7”, the guys who can execute a bicycle kick on the soccer field.  And the guys who will join Lorenzo and Marquez in the championship battles leading into the 2020’s.

No jocking required.


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