El Diablo dominant in Spain

Qualifying:

Sunny conditions in Spain made for a good qualifying session seeing Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) claim pole with 1:38.742. Narrowly missing out on taking the pole for himself – Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) took second and Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), finished the front row.

Marc Marquez (Honda) was not present over the weekend due to having further surgery on his shoulder so Honda’s test-rider Stefan Bradl stepped in.

Sitting on pole. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Race:

All eyes were on the Spanish home-riders (which there were 8 on the grid on Sunday). The brilliant weather conditions remained for Sunday and the crowds were ready.

Aleix got a great start and instantly pulled ahead. But into turn one, Fabio took the lead. More action continued on the turn though as three bikes hurled into the gravel behind. It soon became clear that Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) had gone into the first corner too quick and couldn’t stop in time, taking himself and Alex Rins (Suzuki) out along with him. But, Rins was not the only rider, as Nakagami fell his helmet knocked against Bagnaia’s rear tyre, causing him to also crash seconds later.

The crash. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

It was an unexpected start to the race. However, perhaps a more expected start was how quickly Fabio started to eke away from both Aleix and Jorge Martin (Ducati), who were in second and third.

Another great start came in the form of the now, sole-running Suzuki – Joan Mir, who had made up an impressive 11 places. Starting 17th on the grid and by the end of lap one had made it up to 6th.

The closest they would be to Fabio this race. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Lap 3 saw Martin pass A. Espargaro for 2nd while Quartararo put in the fastest lap.

Bagnaia managed to re-join the race, but only briefly, having to concede and retire to the pits.

With 21 laps to go, Quartararo got another fastest lap and was 1.627 seconds ahead of Martin. Fabio was pushing hard to get a substantial lead.

On lap 6 Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) ended his race early, crashing out on turn 10.

Another rider who had made his way through the pack was Enea Bastianini (Ducati), who was in 7th place and hoping his luck would fair better than the last race (when he crashed out of 6th place). But, bad luck continued to hamper ‘The Beast’ as he crashed out for the second time in a row, this time on lap 8 of 24, turn 5.

Back at the front, the lead had increased further to: 2.534 seconds.

The next lap saw last weeks pole-man Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) tumble into the gravel from 11th place.

With 15 laps to go Aleix passed Martin on the home-straight to re-take 2nd place, knowing he had to get the gap down between himself and Fabio. But the Ducati riders – Martin and Johann Zarco had other ideas and managed to keep him with them. But, in doing so helped in extending Quartararo’s lead, which was 3.862 seconds with 11 laps till the chequered flag.

Martin wasn’t going to have any of it. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

‘The Martinator’ re-took 2nd on lap 16, wanting to catch Fabio himself, who had managed to add yet another second to his lead. Martin however, had the same problem Aleix had, he couldn’t gap the two riders behind him. Meaning all three riders remained in their group 3.420 seconds ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki), who had managed to pass Luca Marini (VR46) to take 5th position.

4 laps remaining and Espargaro passed Martin again to claim 2nd once more. Both Spanish men wanted to impress at home. But, it would seem no-one was going to be able to catch Quartararo, who was nearly 6 seconds ahead of the group. (Not even chest protector issues would stop him this year).

 

6 seconds ahead for victory. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Fabio crossed the finish line with one lap to go, time to really concentrate to bring back the victory. Bizarrely though as Aleix crossed the line moments after he started to shake his head and slow down, seemingly the unthinkable had happened – perhaps he had an electrical fault on the last lap? But, then his hands went up waving to the crowd. He had mistaken his last lap as the last lap of the race. Only to suddenly realise there was still one more lap, rejoining behind Marini in 6th. There were no words to describe the disappointment he must have felt, handing over a solid podium finish. He did manage to pass Marini for 5th place but, it was Quartararo who crossed the finish line to take the win whilst celebrating by ‘checking his watch’. Martin finished 2nd and team-mate Zarco claimed 3rd.

Top Ten race finishers:

1st

F. Quartararo

2nd

J. Martin

3rd

J. Zarco

4th

J. Mir

5th

A. Espargaro

6th

L. Marini

7th

M. Vinales

8th

B. Binder

9th

M. Oliveira

10th

A. Marquez

Top Four championship standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

147 points

2nd

A. Espargaro

125 points

3rd

E. Bastianini

94 points

4th

J. Zarco

91 points

After two DNF’s in a row, it was nice to see Mir claim 4th position. There is now only 22 points seperating the top two riders, even with Aleix’s unfortunate mistake, the championship is still very close.

What will happen in round 10?

 

 

 

Featured image. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Moto GP 2022 Season Preview

To anyone having withdrawal symptoms from lack of Moto GP.  The wait will soon be over as the new Moto GP season is fast approaching but what do we know about it so far?

The 2022 championship calendar:

Where

Track

Date

Qatar

Grand Prix of Qatar

6th March 2022

Indonesia

GP of Indonesia

20th March 2022

Argentina

Grand Prix Michelin de Republica Argentina

3rd April 2022

United States of America

Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas

10th April 2022

Portugal

Grand Prix of Portugal

24th April 2022

Spain

Grand Prix Red Bull of Espania

1st May 2022

France

Shark Helmets Grand Prix of France

15th May 2022

Italy

Grand Prix d’Italia Oakley

29th May 2022

Spain

Grand Prix Monster Energy de Catalunya

5th June 2022

Germany

Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

19th June 2022

Netherlands

Motul TT Assen

26th June 2022

Finland

Grand Prix of Finland

10th July 2022

Great Britain

Monster Energy British GP

7th August 2022

Austria

Mottorrad GP Von Osterreich

21st August 2022

Italy

Grand Prix di San Marino e delle Riviera di Rimini

4th September 2022

Spain

Grand Prix de Aragon

18th September 2022

Japan

Motul Grand Prix of Japan

25th September 2022

Thailand

Thailand Grand Prix

2nd October 2022

Australia

Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

16th October 2022

Malaysia

Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix

23rd October 2022

Spain

Grand Prix Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

6th November 2022

(Circuits, dates and names correct on date of writing but may be subject to change)

The teams and riders:

Team

Riders

Riders Numbers

Yamaha

Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli

20 (1)

21

Lenovo Ducati

Francesco Bagnaia

Jack Miller

63

43

Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez

Pol Espargaro

93

44

Suzuki

Joan Mir

Alex Rins

36

42

Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro

Maverick Vinales

41

12

Red Bull KTM

Brad Binder

Miguel Oliveira

33

88

Pramac Ducati

Johann Zarco

Jorge Martin

5

89

LCR Honda

Takaaki Nakagami

Alex Marquez

30

73

Yamaha (With U)

Andrea Dovizioso

Darryn Binder

04

40

Tech 3 KTM

Remy Gardner

Raul Fernandez

87

25

VR46

Luca Marini

Marco Bezzecchi

10

72

GR

Enea Bastiannini

Fabio De Giannantonio

23

49

There are some new names listed above for the Moto GP 2022 championship:

  • The Moto 2 Champion – Remy Gardner will be riding for KTM as will Raul Fernandez.
  • Brad Binder’s brother – Darryn will be racing for (With U) Yamaha.
Andrea Dovisioso and Darryn Binder’s bikes. Courtesy of Moto GP Twitter page.
  • Marco Bezzecchi will be the pilot for new team VR46.
  • Fabio De Giannantonio will be on the GR bike.
Enea Bastiannini and Fabio De Giannantonioi. Image courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page

Some new teams are also listed above:

VR46 (Valentino Rossi’s team), GR (Gresini Racing) and With U Yamaha (was Petronas Yamaha).

Other news:

Marc Marquez fans will be jumping for joy at the big announcement that he is finally fit enough to start testing (which has already started – 5th February). This means he should be back for the new season starting in Qatar. He has been cleared of Diplopia for the second time in his career and his shoulder/ arm should be healed as well. As of February, it was the first time he has ridden his Repsol Honda since October 2021.

This year also marks the first year in 26 years that The Doctor won’t be present in a Moto GP race. However, his team VR46 will be racing, with Brother Marini and new rider Bezzecchi.

One man may have left Yamaha but one man has remained – Cal Crutchlow has been confirmed to stay as their official test rider for 2022 and 2023.

Something to keep an eye out for, will be Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller who will be racing in the iconic ‘Ducati Red’ for the first time in Moto GP.

As for the tracks, Catalunya – turn 4 has a new run-off area and Circuit of the Americas is in the final stages of resurfacing, following on from negativity from the riders. Turns 2-10 and 12-16 are being ‘repaved and reinforced’.

Moto GP will be returning to Indonesia for the first time since 1997, which will be a real treat for old and new fans alike. Riders have recently been testing at the circuit and have provided valuable feedback, which has resulted in surface issues being addressed.

Beautiful views at the Indonesian circuit. Courtesy of Ducati Moto GP Twitter page.

Audiences are sure up for some entertainment this year with the insurgence of new faces/ teams and tracks. Will we see Quartararo defend his title? Will we see Mir return to the top spot? Will Marquez be strong enough to fight for the title? Will Bagnaia be fighting again for the championship? Or will there be a new surprise?

The countdown begins…

 

 

 

(Featured image: Courtesy of Moto GP website)

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