Parc Fermé

In my latest weekly column Parc Fermé, I cast my mind back to a weekend of phenomenal bike racing and look ahead at what is to come. Let’s just hope it’s not a #93 world championship.

A weekend of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and the British Superbike ‘Showdown Decider’ at Oulton Park.

Just that opening paragraph is enough to have you bouncing your knees in excitement and feeling the goosebumps develop all over your skin.

As soon as Jorge Navarro crashed out at Misano the commentators should just have declared there and then that Brad Binder is the 2016 Moto3 champion. He is now 106 points in front of second place Enea Bastianini. I don’t care what sort of rider you are, unless Binder is going to throw his bike at the scenery for the next five races (and I can’t see that happening) South Africa will be crowning itself a world champion. It is shame though. I really thought that Binder and Navarro were going to go at it hammer and tongs to the very last race. I even thought riders like Bastianini, Bulega, Antonelli and Fenati were going to mount a serious challenge. It wasn’t to be.

I know there are a few people out there who have said they find Brad a bit boring during interviews, but I like him. I like how he conducts himself and the way he keeps a cool, calm and collected manner about him. He is a worthy champion, of that I have no doubt.

After the furore of Silverstone (mostly from British fans) regarding Zarco and Lowes, it was time to see what would happen at Misano. Well, not much between them to be honest. Sam was unfortunately down again and I hate to say it, but I think that’s his championship hopes gone with his bike into the gravel.

Alex Rins. Well. Broke both collar bones and rode his bloody socks off, yet it was the hustling, determined and downright dogged Lorenzo Baldassarri who took the spoils. His performance, the way he hunted down Rins was exceptional. I won’t hide the fact that I was quite pleased to see Zarco drop like a stone, or as Julian Ryder quite eloquently put it “Zarco has been taken outside and beaten up.” Oh well, never mind. I was really pleased to see Rins and Baldassarri battling at the front for the win.

What I wasn’t expecting was a Dani Pedrosa victory in MotoGP. In fact I don’t think most people were expecting a Pedrosa win. Where the hell did that come from? I watched with interest as Rossi closed the gap down on Lorenzo, inch by inch the tarmac shortened and the sea of yellow in the stands erupted as the GOAT went into the lead. But hold on….wait a minute. What’s that in the background creeping up?

It was a Repsol Honda bike but not the bully boy #93 of Marquez, no it wasn’t. It was the #26 of Pedrosa.

I was ever so happy to see Pedrosa burst like a bullet underneath Marquez sitting him up as he went by. That’s the second time today I’ve been happy. Although I wasn’t expecting a Pedrosa victory it was a win that I don’t think anybody would deny him. He rode an absolutely phenomenal race.

The gap in the world championship is down to 43 points and if I am being honest I don’t mind who of the chasing pack wins the title this year, as long as it’s not the #93. I think that Marc Marquez is one of the most talented riders there has ever been. What he can do with a motorcycle is just unbelievable and he is without doubt a true great. I just don’t like his riding ethics and his smarmy, arrogant nature off the track. That’s the only reason I don’t want him to win the world championship. Nothing else.

The setting for the British Superbike ‘Showdown Decider’ was Oulton Park. Now, unlike the above, there is no superbike rider who I have glee in seeing dropping down the order. It was a real topsy turvy, roller coaster affair this one but I have to say the highlight of the weekend for me was witnessing racing history.

Three JG Speedfit Kawasaki riders locking out the podium positions, the first time in British Superbike history and this coming from a fan of another bike racing team as well. It is always a special moment watching racing history being made.

I did manage two rather large shots when I witnessed both Tommy Bridewell and Jake Dixon go down hard, their bikes catapulting across the grass to the fencing. Bridewell’s bike actually went over the fencing and on both occasions the fans were running for cover.

So, we have our final six riders for the Championship Showdown. Leon Haslam, Shakey Byrne, Jason O’Halloran, James Ellison, Dan Linfoot and Luke Mossey. Three Kawasaki’s, two Honda’s and a Ducati. It’s going to be some run-in to the end of the season, but where do I think the title will go.

As a fan, my heart says Shakey Byrne, as a Byrne fan and lifelong Ducati fan. My head says Leon Haslam, I just think he has hit a rich vein of form and looks the business at the moment. If I was going to pick a rider outside of those two I’d want Luke Mossey to win it. I like him, I like the way he conducts himself.

Whether it was Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP, British Superbikes or British Supersport, at the weekend I still managed to witness more excitement in one weekend than a certain racing series all season that I can’t be bothered to mention again.

The Grand Prix racers move to Aragon and the British Superbike riders go to Donington. In all of the series it’s just going to be one hell of an end to the season.

Until the next time. See you at the chequered flag.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

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