Welcome to NOT The MotoGP News – our blog by Guy Anderson. Oh – and when you’re done, make sure to go follow Guy on Twitter – @SirGuyGuisborne
Yep, we’re back and this time it’s sandy! We both love and loathe Losail; we love it because it heralds the start of yet more reasons to get up on a Sunday, yet at the same time it’s Losail. News reaches us that DORMA have signed up the water dodgers until 2121 which is how long Brexit seems to be going on. And still they can’t decide when to race; day time is too hot; night time is too dew-induced damp. Like all motorsports, MotoGP is just sometimes a bit too daft for its own good. Anywho, it’s got bikes, and it’s got racing……. What’s not to like?
Like an amuse bouche before hors d’oeuvre before the main course, Moto3 was up first natch.
A new season and yet more kids move up from primary school to the big school, and we were salivating at the prospect of Can O’Cola showing the same form as the he did in Valencia last season. Not only that, but with the current Moto3 champion moving up to Moto2, we were in for a new WC.
On pole was “serial underachiever no longer shackled to a brewery giant”, Can-it, followed by Dalla Porta next to him, and Rising Bun star Toba. Wee Scot and perennial sun-dodger (sorry Ed, this is the way its gonna be unless you edit this, and you may have to, to keep his business), Nanny McPhee was fourth on the grid. Boom! (Leave my clients alone! Ed)
Lap 1 was always going to be full-phat nuts anyway as the kids unleashed all the pent up errr “emotion” of not racing for several months, but UK hopeful and double barrelled Tom Booth-Amos gave it both barrels and skittled not only himself but Masia too. Let’s put it down to over excitement. Meanwhile McPhee raced his way to the back and after the opening lap was 20th. Next lap and Darryn Binder binned it at Turn 13. If he’s not careful he’ll steal his brother’s nickname on here after just one round.
Full time thug, part time racer and amateur boxer, Roaming Fenati had had a torrid qualifying in that his team screwed up by sending him too late to qualify any higher than 11th. Like the original Rocky film, the old boy showed his experience, if not his class, and started plugging away (or is that jabbing away?). By the third lap, he’d already broken the lap record.
Right across the field, the testosterone was pretty much in evidence everywhere. Either that or the dew was forming. And by lap 5, Fenati was up to tenth. To be fair, the top 13 were all in touch, but Roaming was having the time of his life out there – by the ninth lap he was 3rd. Having a 300cc bike was always going to pay off. Talking of which, McPhee had adapted to his technical issues (slipping clutch, hidden dragon) and hoiked his arse up to 10th.
Lap 11 and the front four were Rising Bun star Toba, Fenati, Can-it and Dalla Soul. Next lap, and Roaming Fenati was leading! Blimey!
And then…….. and then it all came crashing down over our ears; yep – BTSpurt said “slipstream city” during the race. A stunned silence came over the whole bunker. No one dared look at anyone else. How could they? What were they thinking? All those hours of therapy that Gareth the editor had paid 25p for – wasted. We could feel the greyness descend like a cloud on a January afternoon drifting over a bleak dank moor……. And then Fenati fucked up thankfully! Phew – that was really close. Mis-reading a text on his iPhone, or just wanting to be the first to use it and gain some sure to be needed practice, Roaming decided to try the new Extend-O-Corner penalty zone! As the teenager we keep locked in a cage said, Yay! We were saved from inane commentary! Thank you Fenati! Although he lost a net 9 places, from 3rd to 12th, we survived.
With three to go Toba took the lead. All race he looked good and he looked comfortable. We’d been unable to say anything dreadful or even witty about him and here he was! A lap later he let the lead slip but it was a mere aberration; ever the cool head, he waited to the last corner to slip past Dalla Porta by a gnat’s cock hair. The first win for a Japanese rider since the last rider to do so!
So Moto3 is still alive and still kicking arse as we Brits like to say. Not ass. For year after year Moto2 has been the ginger step-child of the circus – unloved and unexciting. Powered by a Tokyo Bay anchor with tyres too wide, the racing became strung out and frankly boring. But no longer! Triumph to the rescue with a bigger engine, added torque and possibility of electronic magic in the near future. So for once we looked forward to the Moto2 race. Why did we bother?
Super smart Markie Snotter was on pole with Sophisticated Frenchie Xavi Vierge next to him and BadAss Baldasarri taking the third spot on the grid.
Lap 1 and turn 1 caused the inevitable daft pile-up. Zut alors or something, but it kept our heart rate up and ticking along nicely. Not to be outdone by hapless youth Amos-Booth in Moto3, Dixon Carphone waited until lap 3 to tipple off. Harsh comment? Possibly. By lap 5 we could see that the race wasn’t as exciting as Moto3 already. For god’s sake! Luckily for all watching, Tom “Toblerone” Luthi set about breaking the lap records. Easy on a bike 165cc bigger you say? Well, yeah probably. After a dismal year on the Marc VDS Honda nail in MotoGP last year, Tom’s back and going to make everyone aware that Switzerland is interesting. Next lap, and he was past perpetual Moto2 chicane, Alex Marquez who is going to win the title, because, well he’s faster than his brother. Oh, who are we kidding? Literally no one. As the season progresses we’ll undoubtedly get stuck into him more. Just wait and see.
By lap 13 (yeah we’ve skipped a few) surf’s up dude Remy Gardener was up where he belongs – no, not in front of a judge for crimes against hair styles (Oi! STOP insulting all my clients dammit! Ed) – at the front and fighting hard. He’d had a great weekend so his Sunday performance was no surprise really, but compared to last year it was (classy journalism there team – Ed).
All this time Toblerone Tom was haranguing everybody and anybody and was up to second by lap 17. Chasing hard, the smooth Swiss couldn’t make it past Smouldering Boulder by even less of a gnats’ cock hair. Sounds exciting? Well it wasn’t really. Harrumph..!
By now it was as dark as Lorenzo’s mind on a relatively awkward day, which was apposite as it was time for the opening round of the Marc Marquez Championship Parade.
First of all, we have to mention the Ducati Gandalf Spell Maker Gigi “Nancy” Dell’Olio; already this season he’s had everyone on his side by winding up Honda with more and more outlandish carbon fibre appendages. Yes – F-I-B-R-E, not fiber which just one letter short of fibber. This is a good thing. A smug grin on the face of Catweazle’s stunt double is nothing short of glorious. This season “Nancy” has the arseholeshot device and the rear wheel cooling water scoop on display.
The arseholeshot device works. From second on the grid (Viñales was in pole but raced to the back) Dovi shot off like a stabbed rat on its way to ICU. Miller fared even better from fourth; like Ned Kelly on the run from the rozzers, Miller jumped up into second place by turn 1. Before all that, newbie Quattro Formaggi had had a mare, stalling on the line and starting from pitlane. By lap 3, he was setting the fastest lap, whilst Miller was throwing his seat at anyone who dared to look at his arse (it’s an Aussie thing apparently). Next lap and Quattro Formaggi was setting yet another fastest lap.
Rossi was up to 8th despite a crap weekend so far. Rins was doing better; the Tilbury Dock decorator complete with floppy hair this season was past Marquez and into the lead. Dovi took second and then set off to show that not only can Ducati stick bits of carbon fibre all over a bike, they also make a stonking engine. Hitting Mach 3 on the straight he made short work of Rins, and then set about slowing it all down. The two horse race developed; Dovi from Marquez after Rins ran wide and allowed Petrucci into third; by lap 15 Cal Lowcrutch was pushing hard at Petrucci’s back door while both Pramacs had retired; Miller had run out of seat to throw, and Bagnaia had taken to falling off.
Lap 17 and the front 8 were covered by less than a grain of sand in an egg timer. Rossi slid into 6th as easily as an archbishop slides into a confessional booth. In front Dovi, Marquez and Rins slogged it out with Cal breathing down their necks. A lap later and Rins ran wide again – he’d had a “mapping 3” message a lap or two earlier which obviously meant his quote for painting Mrs Smith front hallway was too expensive.
All the time Dovi was playing Marquez like a violin; everything Marquez threw at Dovi didn’t work, and yet vice versa Dovi had an answer for all Marquez’s efforts. Professor Dovizioso schooling the pupil at his best.
More gnat’s cock hair margin over the line, and we’re back in the groove. Cal rounded the podium off (with a file and chisel probably)
*hey up – it’s Belinda Carlisle. Yeah, you couldn’t think who it was could you? No, we couldn’t either
- Ogden converts pole to victory in a tight season opener
- “Main goal is to secure a factory seat” – Miller
- British Talent Cup get set for Silverstone season opener
- “I knew he’d get there at some point, just not that quick!”
- Ducati’s double title charge
- Aprilia, Ducati, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha go testing
- Josh Herrin nails down victory at COTA
- Puig: “We don’t know what happened to Lorenzo”