Things have changed in MotoGP this season. There are far lesser overtakes, rarely any fights, and whenever it looks like things might get a bit interesting, someone crashes. And then there’s the booing of Lorenzo and Marq by so-called Rossi fans. Grow up you twats, you are embarrassing yourself, Rossi fans, and Rossi.
Before the race, there’s been plenty of discussion about the wings that have sprouted on every bike on the grid. Marquez commented that it’s the wings that are making MotoGP feel like F1, since they deter overtakes. On a bike without wings when you slipstream behind someone, you gain speed. On a bike with wings when you slipstream behind someone, you lose speed. This is because the flow of air over the wings prevents wheelies, which further prevents wheelie control from cutting off power. When you are drafting in someone else’s vacuum, there’s no wind to push down the front wheel with, hence the wheelies, hence the loss of speed.
Rossi has from the start hated them, on not just a technical level but aesthetics too. Recently photos of a crashed Ducati surfaced that had prominent sharp and jagged edges on the carbon fiber fairing where the wings once used to be. Imagine Iannone crashes, brakes the wing off into that dagger shape, and then some other unlucky sob crashes into his bike. It might sound like a long shot, but it’s a perfectly plausible scenario, especially in the first few laps when everyone’s all bunched up.
It appears that everyone agrees wings are bad and want them removed, except Ducati. They’ve invested far too much money and time in perfecting their designs, and they feel all that effort will go down the drain if their bikes go wingless again. The good news is that there are some very persuasive forces at work to influence Ducati’s decision, and hopefully soon the bikes will go back to looking like bikes, rather than the something that’s born when a plane fucks a motorcycle in the face.
As far as the race goes, it was rather boring. Lorenzo as expected started off the line like he had some 50 odd horsepower more than everyone else, then lead every corner and every lap, and won by some 10 seconds. Marquez got a bad start from second position, but crawled his way back to third position, only to crash out with Dovi in one of the most remarkably weird moments of all time.
There’s only one plausible theory that explains how Marq and Dovi could’ve crashed with that perfect symphony. The Ducatis have been facing bladder problems lately, Iannone crashed in qualifying, and Dovi had a crash in the last race, both blamed on water leaking onto the tire. It’s possible that the same thing happened here, the leaking fluid from Dovi’s bike slid it out from under him, and then went on to make life miserable for Marq, who luckily was able to rejoin the race and finish 13th, gaining 3 valuable points. The only problem with that theory is that it looked like Dovi lost his front, not the rear. The crash reminded of this one though.
The shit run for Ducati continuous onwards though. Iannone crashed out on lap 7 in what can only be described as an unforced error. He had just overtaken Dovi in an attempt to bridge the gap to Lorenzo, but pushed a bit too hard and ran out of luck on turn 8. Surprisingly, he didn’t take out Dovi with him, and it finally looked like the Italian will be able to finish a race. But no, we all know how that went down.
It appears that all the riders who went with the new harder option front tire crashed out, except for Baz, who finished just ahead of Marq. Tires still continue to wreak havoc in MotoGP, and I guess it’ll take a while before Michelin gets comfortable again.
Pol Espargaro ran a brilliant race, gunning all the way to the start and running up and down the noses of Marq and Rossi, before a big moment on his front under braking shook things up a bit and he ended up settling down to take 5th. Petrucci ran a remarkable race as well, fending off a spirited Barbera to take 7th spot. The 20 screws in his right hand didn’t help at all, as you could see from his face at the end of the race.
Rossi made a rather bad start from 7th, and got caught up with Tech3s and Suzukis in the middle, but finally ran a lonely ride in 2nd, but not without putting moves on Marq and Dovi, which luckily happened before both of them decided to elope together.
Viñales made it to his first ever MotoGP podium, and also the first podium for Suzuki in over 7 years. He didn’t feel too happy about it, he knew the reason he was there was because of other people and their bad luck. Pedrosa ran another disappointing race down behind Viñales, never looking like a threat to anyone after a disastrous start. Rumors are rife of the little Spaniard moving onto Yamaha, and with the troubles that Honda’s been going through the last few seasons, it makes perfect sense.
Jack Miller crashed out yet again, his ankle injury creating big problems for the Marc VDS rider, who’s still visibly wobbling all around the pit lane. Bad luck too for Crutchlow, who got his 4th DNF in the 5th race of the season. Bradley Smith also crashed out on his Tech3 Yamaha, and Redding retired pretty early in the race with an engine that just stopped turning.
All in all, Le Mans ended up being more of a gladiator fight than a motorcycle race. In 2 weeks time the circus moves onto Mugello, and hopefully by then the wings would go away, or at least some concrete plan would be in place to make them do so.
After this race, Lorenzo leads the world championship with 90 points, followed by Marq at 85 and Rossi at 78.
Here are the top 10 riders:
- Pol Espargaro
- Aleix Espargaro