Opinion: Will Jake Dixon Stick The Jump To Moto2?

Jake Dixon’s move to the Moto2 World Championship might have come as a shock to viewers as the British Superbikes (BSB) rider won’t be starting where the majority of MotoGP riders start their careers, in Moto3. His jump from BSB to Moto2 will leave him with little preparation in comparison to the rest of the grid, who will have experience with tracks, machinery and what the way of life is for a Moto2 rider. Whether he lands this jump will depend on quite a few factors as the odds weigh heavily against him.

On a positive note, he’ll be joining the Angel Nieto Team (formerly Aspar Racing Team) with a new bike powered by Triumph in 2019. However, they haven’t had a Moto2 ride since 2010, in the first ever Moto2 season when it switched from the 250cc two-stroke class. And even then, their only Rider’s Championships came in the 125cc class (four Championships between 2006 and 2011). So, for both rider and team, they’re both heading into new territory.

However, the most successful riders for the Angel Nieto Team are Karel Abraham (MotoGP) in 15thplace overall and Andrea Migno (Moto3) in 10thplace overall, so their track record is nothing to be sniffed at. His teammate for 2019 hasn’t been announced yet, but he will face competition from other Moto2 rookies such as Jorge Martin (Gresini Racing) and Marco Bezzecchi (PrustelGP).

But this isn’t the first time a rider has made a significant jump from one ride to another, or skipped classes for that matter. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) rode in the Moto3 class for three seasons before leaping up to MotoGP in 2015, totally missing Moto2. Miller’s teammate Danilo Petrucci never even appeared on the Moto3 or Moto2 grids, going straight from Superstock 1000 to MotoGP in 2012. So, the change of pace is doable for a young rider like Dixon, after all it has been done before, but both of the Pramac Racing riders had teething problems and took time to adjust to new styles and tracks.

If Dixon is given that time to find his rhythm, then success could well be on the cards for the Englishman. He has made two Moto2 starts for Intact GP in 2017. Let’s also not forget that racing is in Dixon’s blood as his father, Darren Dixon, won the British TT F1 Superbike Championship in 1988 and was the World Sidecar Champion in 1995 and 1996.

Jake Dixon racing for the Dynavolt Intact GP Moto2 team at the British GP in 2018. (Image: Gold and Goose / LAT Images)

Dixon is currently 31 points behind the BSB Championship leader, Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), and if he could clinch the title before his move to Moto2 the confidence would certainly help him along. But unfamiliar tracks and a new bike will hold him back in comparison to other riders who have studied these tracks for years and have only ridden Moto3 or Moto2 bikes, but you never know with the intermediary class.

It can be incredibly unpredictable at times. There have been multiple cases where talent has outweighed experience – Joan Mir (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) or Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) for example. It’ll take hard work and dedication, but nothing is impossible.

Jorge Martin Blitzes Field To Extend Lead Over Rivals

The 14th round of Moto3 world championship proved to be a decisive one, as Marco Bezzecchi narrowed the gap between himself and the series leader Jorge Martin.

It was Martin (Del Conca Gresini) who stole the show, after a great start saw him create a sizeable gap between himself and the rest of the pack. This lead would be too much for the rest of the grid, but that made the fight for second all the more brutal.

On paper, Juame Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) should have been Martin’s closest rival as he started from second on the grid, but a cracked collarbone from a previous accident caused him to fall out of contention fast. Masia and Martin were the only two riders to start the race where they’d qualified, as all other riders were handed heavy penalties that saw the likes of Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) starting in 15th and Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) in 18th. Ultimately it was Martin who soared to his sixth race win, Bezzecchi in second and Bastianini in third.

With Martin out in front, the next riders expected to perform well at the AragonGP were title rival Bezzecchi, Bastianini and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini).

All three riders fought for to try and finish in the top three, but Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadro Corse) and Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) also kept up with the group which failed to dissipate for the entire race. Unfortunately, Suzuki and Norrodin slipped back and weren’t able to finish in the top five, after securing sixth and eighth respectively.

Those two were propelled forward in the standings after Aron Canet (Estrell Galicia 0,0), who would have been looking to put in a good performance to sustain his rivalry with Martin, retired from the race with a shoulder injury. He fell out of the top ten and was lingering in 16th position when he decided to call it a day.

Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) also crashed out of podium contention when he got too close to Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) and slid out of the race. He had been flirting with the top four but wasn’t fast enough to really pull away from the pack, instead trading places multiple times before his Aragon race came to an end.

With about eight laps to go, further penalties were handed to Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy) and Dennis Foggia (Sky-VR|46) for exceeding track limits. They had to concede positions for gaining an advantage when riding wide of the track. Ultimately, it would be Perez who finished within the points after crossing the line in 14th. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadro Corse) was the only other rider to crash out though, just before Rodrigo did on the penultimate lap.

It seemed to be a race of hard tactics. On several occasions the rider in second would attempt to pull away whilst the pack behind him was too preoccupied with the rider in third (Di Giannantonio, Ramirez, Bezzecchi and Bastianini). However, this tactic was often hampered due to the nature of the track, and didn’t work for longer than a few laps. The Motorland circuit is very physical due to several elevation changes, so in many ways this tactic would work to take the pressure off of the rider in second but only temporarily. Slipstreams are also very common on this track, so riders had to make the most of them whilst also defending their own.

Points-wise, this was a very good race for Bezzecchi, Bastianini and Di Giannantonio. Bezzecchi managed to make up valuable points on Martin, who is now 13 points ahead of him. This means that the Championship is still all to play for, between the Spaniard and the Italian, both of whom are moving up to Moto2 in 2019. Third overall in the standings is Di Giannantonio, who finished fourth in Aragon. He’s been a consistent rider but not to the levels of Martin and Bezzecchi which means he trails behind by 28 points. This is substantial but would only take a few podium finishes to level it. There is every chance that the Gresini rider could still cause Bezzecchi a few headaches before the season is over. In fourth, Bastianini is 17 points behind Di Giannantonio.

Taking third place in the race really helped elevate Bastianini enough so that he could break away from Canet in the standings. But all of this could change when Moto3 goes to Thailand in October.