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Well well weel!

 

It's looking to be one of the most interesting MotoGP seasons in a long while!

 

Ducati is back at the top with their GP15 bike, which is significantly faster and has gotten rid of that dreaded understeer I understand. Dovizioso put the GP15 on pole, with the Repsol Hondas on #2 and #3 - but with Pedrosa ahead of Marquez.

 

Yamaha seemed to be struggling with Lorenzo in #6 and Rossi on 3rd row as #8 - "as usual" I would add, since it's never really been Rossi's speciality to set the fastest pace during Qualifying, but boy is he there during the race! And and "old fart", at 36 years old!

 

The Suzuki's aren't half-bad, but they still have a while before they are up there with Honda, Ducati, and Yamaha. Aleix Espargaro was +20sec down in the race. Aprilia, on the other hand, might as well have waited for 2016 to join. Melandri was about 4 seconds down - per lap, every lap.

 

Marquez almost wrote himself out of the race at the very first corner (he went wide across the astroturf and turned on the asfalt on the other side to rejoin at the very back of the pack), but was able to rejoin and end 7.0sec down on the winner in 5th spot.

 

THE RACE:

The two Ducatis took off from the field together with Lorenzo, with Pedrosa not able to match their pace. Rossi clawed his way through the field from 8th and hunted the trio down to make them a quartet by Lap 8. It was only on Lap 20, when Dovi and Rossi was able to pull away from Iannone and Lorenzo, with Rossi winning by 0.17sec ahead of Dovi.

 

I didn't check the stats, but I'm sure it's been a long while since it was an all-Italian podium last time!

 

Marquez is by no means out of contest yet, but he sure didn't make it easier on himself this time.

 

Looks like it was the right year I got a MotoGP season pass :D :D :D

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It was amazing on a number of levels not the least of which was who won followed by which mfg'r were fighting it out and finally how close it was - for the ENTIRE race. What a start to 2015!

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I know this sounds like a rhetorical question but did anyone else think those bikes were riding at ridiculous lean angles for ridiculous durations at Qatar?

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Kevin, I noticed that and quickly decided that I shouldn't try to replicate those lean angles myself, no matter the tires.

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I attended the 2nd last or maybe last MotoGP race at Laguna Seca (Stoner) and I swear the lean angles were nothing like Sunday's races. I know it was 4 or 5 years ago but clearly things have changed. I first noticed these extreme lean angles at COTA MotoGP but they didn't hold them for the length of time they did at Quatar. They are so far beyond what mere mortals can do that it seems other worldly.

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Stoner left MotoGP by the end of 2012, so it must be 3-4 years ago.

 

I think the tire technology has changed quite a bit since then, and especially the arrival of Marquez have shown that the fast way around the track is to carry a lot of lean angle these days, simply because the tires are so sticky.

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...so if we go back to the race, does the fact that four riders contested for the race up until 3 laps were left and the victory wasn't sealed until the final run to the line mean 2015 will see parity - or does the fact Marquez was able to catch the fifth spot despite running off the track on T1/L1 mean he will run away from them all with a good start to a race?
I think your observations about Marquez's riding style are spot on so maybe the difference this season is the others have adopted it. It looks to be a lot more fun this year.
Someone posted a few years ago that they believed Stoner was successful because he was one of the first riders to fully embrace electronics where older riders like Rossi were much less willing to overlook their "feel" for the limits of their bikes (or tires). So the evolution just continues I guess.

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At the end of the race, Marquez was still 7 seconds off the lead. After lap 1, he only posted 2 seconds behind the lead. However, it is practically impossible to judge how much traffic had to play in that outcome. During the last few laps, ROSSI and DOVISIOSO were the only ones able to keep posting 1:55's, probably more due to competitiveness than anything else. Other riders may have been comfortable in their spot at that point. I would never make judgments off a single race though.

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Marquez was less than 4 seconds off the lead rider (Dovi) by end of lap 1. Marquez kept approximately then same gap all the way to lap 20 (biggest gap was 5.4258 sec on lap 9, smallest gap was 3.342 sec on lap 19) when he decided that he would not be able to catch the quartet in front, and opted to ride it home safe in 5th spot. Intelligent move.

 

Interestingly, the all top-10 riders ran 1.55-1.56 laps out to lap 20, which just shows how close the fields was.

 

Whether Marquez would be able to run away from the others is an interesting question. For the Qatar race, my guess would be a "no", because the quartet in front were able to run faster laptimes than Marquez.

 

But did anyone noticed that Marquez hit Alvaro Bautista's Aprilia so hard that he clipped Bautista's brake hose? - Marquez hit Pedrosa either last year or the year before, which resulted in a torn sensor wire so the anti-spin didn't work and Pedrosa got spit off. I am surprised that none of the race stewards didn't give Marquez a warning or fine for that.

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Yeah, I should have clarified that I was making a ROSSI and MARQUEZ comparison as they both had to move through the field and the end result was ROSSI in 1st. An argument could be made that slower riders are easier to pass and therefore MARQUEZ moved through the field pretty quick but then you can see it taper off.

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As the commentators said: "Normal Operation has been restored".

 

Q2 had quite a drama: Marquez came out of the pits for his final run (outlap + 2 laps), but on the very start/finish straight, his HRC machine turned on a warning light. He parked the bike against the pit wall, jumped over it and sprinted back to the garage, where the team had quickly pulled out his #2 bike and started it. When he left the pits, there were less than 2m30sec remaining to the chequered flag. Despite the #2 bike wasn't set up the same way as the #1 bike and had the "wrong" tires on, he rode it in anger to demolish the lap record and put in on pole - again (while this happened, Marquez went from pole to 7th on the grid due to others setting their fastest laptimes at the very end of the Q2 session).

 

Marquez didn't do a brilliant start, but I think his main point was to get through turn 1 without incidents. I think he was down to 5th place in the beginning of lap one, but by the end of it, he was 2nd. By lap 5 he had passed Dovizioso and he never looked back since then.

 

The battles for 2nd/3rd and 4th/5th were much more interesting to watch, with the two Yamaha's being sandwiched by the Ducatis (Dovi taking 2nd and Iannone taking 5th). Rossi still leads the championship by a single point to Dovizioso (41pt vs 40pt).

 

Good with 3 different brands on the podium. Suzuki and partially also Yamaha still have their work cut out for them to get more power from their engines.

 

There was an odd collision incident in turn 11 between Scott Redding and Pol Espargaro, which resulted in Pol crashing. It seemed like a "race incident" to me, but it would be interesting to hear other people's opinions.

 

The Brit's are likely to be ecstatic after the Moto3 & Moto2 races, with two winners (Danny Kent doing an unparalleled disappearing act at the front in Moto3, and Sam Lowes take the win by 2 seconds).

 

 

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The strangest incident for me was that Moto2 incident between Simeon and Zarco. From one camera angle it looked 100% like Zarco's fault; from the other angle it looked like Simeon was totally to blame. I know it was under investigation but I don't know if there was any ruling that affected Zarco's finishing position or licence points.

 

Yes, it was impressive how Marquez could sprint that far and that fast in his leathers and helmet, then jump on the B-bike and ride like that. He was really running!

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With the benefit of a DVR, after a very full and busy weekend I was able to sit down to "catch up" on the weekend's races last night.

The SBK races are great to watch this year as again, there were at least four different constructors running in a Conga line thru the first 15 laps of both races and both races were competitive until the last couple of laps. Didn't have access to any SBK last season so it may have been like this last year but I am loving SBK so far. I am also happy to see that Ducati has finally gotten back to being competitive and Kawasaki has maintained it's resurgence for the past three or four seasons. One can assume that if the BMW factory team was still operational there would be at least five manufacturers fighting it our every race. Depending on any response, I will hold my thoughts on the racers and what transpired but it was "interesting" right up until the checker.

Then I watched the MotoGP race. Good God what a race! I would love to hear what the Forum Members think about that race and the incredible tenacity displayed by the winner. He rode with a determination that was simply ageless; how he could ride like that lap after lap, chipping away at what seemed insurmountable and then to have the close in knife fight to settle it; I was just stunned when it was over.

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This was indeed a great weekend for racing. SSP might have been my favorite overall. For SBK, glad to see Rea ride the hell out of the Kawasaki again and look so smooth doing it. Sykes is fast but never looks that comfortable.

 

As for MotoGP, past critical passes by Marquez have been very close but he usually comes out the victor at the disdain of the rider being passed. This time, him pressing a bit too hard after being passed didn't work. To me, it seemed like a mistake he would have made the first season and it cost him. Many races left however.

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The fact that Davies was virtually unable to get around Rea in either race (maybe he did for a lap or two) is reminiscent of the 2002 SBK season between Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards.

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It was a fantastic racing weekend from my perspective (very subjective).

 

Rossi doing what he did, M&M doing what he did and Jorge finishing where he did means the GOAT has a real chance this year. Regardless, it is great for the sport and show that determination is a powerful tool. A podium with no Spaniards is a good podium now after that nation has more or less dominated motorcycle racing for a long time is a good podium. The greater the variation of nations standing on the podium, the greater the international interest.

 

Rea handing Sykes his arse repeatedly also please me because of comments Sykes have made over the past two seasons that didn't go down too well. Of course, we do not know any of these people other than what we see in the media, so my perception may not be correct, But it is what it is.

 

The other Moto-classes also provided great racind, as did WSS. And albeit they have 4 wheels, F1 was also great for a change.

 

More weekends like this B)

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Yes, awesome MotoGP race. MM is still the best but got the tire choice wrong. He was SO on the ragged edge for those last few laps, while VR looked like he was cruising by comparison. I naturally cheer for the old guy but I don't like his chances of winning the title. The kid is just too good.

 

Good F1 race. Nice to see Ferrari a credible threat again. Nico is out of it - I don't see any signs of him besting Hamilton. Big story for me this season though is Williams - I wish they could just find that tiny bit extra to harass the two front teams a little more. Also anxious to see what Honda pulls together for McLaren as the season goes on - no way are they going to be happy with where they are sitting now.

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I was rather impressed that Danny Kent took out 0.5sec from his competitors on every single lap, for the entire race. What kind of doping did they give to him and his bike to do that - it's totally unheard of.

 

Really nice to see that Zarco was able to hold all the way to the finishing line, taking his first Moto2 victory. MM should take a line from Sam Lowes, who accepted to relinquish his 2nd position to Alex Rins, when his tires were worn out and he couldn't stay in front of him any more. Sam scored 16 points, unlike MM.

 

MM is clearly the fastest rider of the MotoGP field, but he seems to be too much do-or-die.He made an interesting gamble on the 'hard' rear tire, and it paid off all the way to 1½ lap to the finish line. It was really exciting to watch VR manage his race and tires perfectly, punching after him when he knew it would hurt.

In some way, MM's crash was sweet payback for Bautista, who got clipped by Marquez in the Qatar race so he had to retire due to torn brake hoses and sensor wires.

I wonder why VR looked over his right shoulder, just before the 2nd contacts. Was he trying to make sure MM wasn't there, or that MM indeed was there?

VR has shown before that he's willing to take the racing to contact. MM can call up Stoner and Gibernau about that, if needed.

 

Cal Crutchlow deserves a shout for his pass on Iannone in the final 2 corners, to beat him to the podium.

 

My biggest question is JL - he's definitely not where he wants to be, and where Yamaha wants him to be.

Is he crumpling from having a MM who is obviously a better rider than him? JL was on the same "extra hard" rear tire, but was barely able to keep up with the Ducatis? JL is supposed to be Yamaha's rider #1, but he's not delivering to that.

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crash.net has many interesting interviews.

 

Rossi apparently looked to see if the coast was clear, and not seeing anybody presumed MM was behind.

 

MM is fast and has gotten away with a lot of crazy stuff, but a few more falls may gnaw on his confidence. Nobody's fast without confidence. That's what Jorge lacked, couldn't get the hard tyre to work. As for MM gambling; Cal said he could easily have done 1.39-flats at the beginning himself, but would have destroyed the tyres. He set his fastest lap of the race on the last lap. MM simply asked too much of his tyres early on and paid the price.

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MM is clearly the fastest rider of the MotoGP field

I remember watching the Qatar race wondering that if MM didn't have such a horrible start would he just pick up where he left off and run away from the field this season like he did last year. Now I am not so sure. After Stoner retired, Lorenzo seemed to be the Alpha Male amongst the pack up until Marquez showed up and won immediately. Now JL seems lost. Does a similar fate await MM if Rossi keeps the pressure on him for the entire race every race? It was almost reminiscent of Sete Gibernau's season long battle with Rossi back what ten or twelve years ago? I don't know if Rossi can keep the fires stoked that high for the whole season but this is the most fascinating start of MotoGP that I can remember. On a simpler note, the fact that Rossi can be this competitive after such a long time struggling with Ducati and then sitting on the B Yamaha is a testament to his character if nothing else.

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MM is clearly the fastest rider of the MotoGP field

I remember watching the Qatar race wondering that if MM didn't have such a horrible start would he just pick up where he left off and run away from the field this season like he did last year. Now I am not so sure. After Stoner retired, Lorenzo seemed to be the Alpha Male amongst the pack up until Marquez showed up and won immediately. Now JL seems lost. Does a similar fate await MM if Rossi keeps the pressure on him for the entire race every race? It was almost reminiscent of Sete Gibernau's season long battle with Rossi back what ten or twelve years ago? I don't know if Rossi can keep the fires stoked that high for the whole season but this is the most fascinating start of MotoGP that I can remember. On a simpler note, the fact that Rossi can be this competitive after such a long time struggling with Ducati and then sitting on the B Yamaha is a testament to his character if nothing else.

 

I agree, Lorenzo seems lost at the moment.

 

As for Marquez and Rossi, I am fairly confident that Rossi has the willpower, determination and interest to race for the wins and the championship all year. If not, he would have quit several years ago. Like you say, it is a testament to his character.

 

I think that Marquez is outright the fastest rider on a single lap. In the 36 races of 2013 & 2014, he set fastest lap of the race in 23 of those 36 races, 24 poles, and 20 wins. That's awing 64%, 67% and 56%.

Rossi is nowhere near those statistics in his 252 starts of 500cc/MotoGP between 2000 and 2014. Those stats say: 71 fastest laps, 50 poles, and 84 wins. 28% / 20% / 33%. As for poles, 2003 was Rossi's best year with 9 poles in 16 races.

I guess that what makes Rossi into GOAT, is his ability to ride very very fast throughout the race distance, with lightening fuel load and tires wearing more and more out.

 

Will Marquez crumble if he can't keep winning and have a some crashes? He doesn't seem to me to have a (relatively) frail character like Biaggi or Gibernau. But only time will tell.

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I realize that we should merge this thread with the recent discussions on the Argentina round. As the 2015 season progresses, it might be more interesting if these are linked.

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Yes, he set consistently fast lap times, far more laps in the 1:39s than any other rider.

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