NOT the MotoGP News: Wet Wet Wet – Qatar kicks off the season
Yep! We’re back!
And so is the round of racing at Qatar. Bloody hell what does anyone have to do to get this round off the calendar? Yes, we know there’s so much money heading to DORMA that they could pay for a wall to protect Mexico from Trump; yes, we know the money oils the wheels of all sorts of shenanigans, but why for all that is sacred do they run the damn thing at night? And in the rain?
There’s only one explanation: Carmelo Ezpeleta is the funniest man on earth! Why else does all of this happen each year? First Carmelo holds the proverbial to the Qatari’s head and gets a supertanker full of money for a few days of bikes spinning around the track they paid to build. Then he gets the teams to drag their (over enthusiastic) expectant backsides over to this dry gulch of a tip where no football stadium worker is safe from never going home. And as soon as the teams rock up, the rains come down. And down. And then only stop when the bikes aren’t out on track. As you can guess we weren’t overly impressed and we don’t think anyone else was either.
So after no qualifying and hardly any free practice, we got to the nitty gritty of racing.
Moto3 is the gift that just never stops giving isn’t it? Is the sheer unpredictability of it boring? Only if you’re dead or Alex Barros (that’s the same thing really)! So off we jolly well went and saw just the most amazing racing again.
Fenati was back looking more like a boxer than ever before. Brad Binned-her has moved up to Moto2, Nanny McPhee is on a weapon and an awful lot of kids were missing college to be here racing. Just like last year they’re all still small, all still mad and all still look like they’d mug you outside ‘Spoons*.
The rains didn’t stay in Spain, and they made a mockery of Qualifying for Moto3 too. So the powers that be did some logical thinking and used FP3 times to set the grid. Who cares where they start, after a couple of laps, or even corners, its all messed up anyway. Knives, knuckle-dusters (ask your granddad), clubs, chair legs, snooker cues; we’re sure they all get used on the first few laps to sort out the lead and every other position. Joan Mir (whose family named a USSR space station) is a class act but on a bike sponsored by some drinks company whose drinks we can’t find. Anywhere. At all. Obviously there is nothing suspicious there. Anyway, Mir looked good all race, as did John “Nanny” McPhee the Saltire laddie. The new team he’s in is ace. DORMA have thrown a load of pesos at the UK in general in the hope of keeping the flow and supply of riders into MotoGP as healthy as being a member of the EU. And although the launch shindig was at BT’s Stalin-like HQ, no money has been forthcoming from BT. As part of the team, DORMA have started the British Talent Cup run at anywhere but a BSB round. Oooo that cheesed the BSB admin manager off. Just like having the 2017 round in the UK on the August Bank Holiday that BSB like to use. Can you see a pattern emerging? We can, and it doesn’t involve BSB.
Just like 2016 the Moto3 race was stunning, and as an opener just what we all needed and wanted.
Unlike Moto2. Our tip is Tim Luthi. Or Freddie Morbid-deli. It certainly hasn’t been Alex Marquez at any time. We could be made to look fools. But that has never stopped us making wildly inaccurate guesses before.
Even Moto2 bikes look great under the shiny lights of Qatar, but as you all know, you can’t polish a turd. And boy Moto2 can get dreary. Freddie is ace and still looks like the love-child of Slash from Guns’n’Roses. Toblerone Tim looks the exact opposite, and is just as fast. Chuck in Taka Knackered-Origami and you’d hope for lap after lap of fairing to fairing racing. What you get is lap after lap of one bike zipping along followed a second later of another zipping past on its own, etc. etc. Yes, for sure, the opening laps are good, but still not as good as Moto3, and yes for sure Matti Pasini is still racing which brings joy to our hearts here in the office. But how we’re going to muster the enthusiasm to write about these races for a season is worrying. Insults; that’s what we’ll revert to. It’s always good to have aback-up plan.
Two good things to note though. Miggy Oliveira is looking useful, and the guy with the biggest weight on his shoulders, being Rossi’s half-brother, Filthy-Luca Marini notched up a good result whilst staying off the radar at the same time (we know he’s faster than Vale).
MotoGP. Right; we all predicted that Lorenzo on a Ducati would win. Until Friday when it rained like it never does. And why did we predict this? Well because he’s won here a lot and Ducati go really well here. And we weren’t going to predict anyone like Zarco were we?
Johann Zarco was third on the grid. That was amazing enough. Johann Zarco then proceeded to make everyone else look daft for enough laps to hopefully know this wasn’t a flash in the pan. We don’t give a camel’s hump that he only led for six laps. It was ace. So was Vinales; he is going to annoy every Rossi fan like no one else since Lorenzo did. Or Casey did. Or Max; or Sete. You get the gist.
So Vinales slotted into the lead after Zarco chucked it up the road, and basically proceeded to get his head down. Ducati did get to the front end of the race, with Dovi. For an Italian (-ish) he’s not at all like Rossi in his personality, but he’s pretty much always there or thereabouts. And yep – Rossi; looking skeletal and shaven headed, his entourage are more desperate than ever for him to win his tenth title. Himself? We hope he’s racing because he loves it more than winning titles, but we remain unconvinced.
Ride of the weekend was Aleix Asparagus. Last year Bautista started doing things on the ‘Prilly, and got better each weekend. And Aleix has picked up on that. To the point of finishing sixth. Not quite as invisible as we predicted in our last installment.
Did we say? The race was shortened to 20 laps for some daft reason. And talking of short, Dani kept his head down and pushed Marc to finish 5th with obviously The Joker in fourth.
So there you have it. The opening round is a continuing farce of a place to go, but the money keeps the teams running, and that’s a good thing. Unless you’re Leopard who are [REDACTED by the ed]
Next up Argentina. Oh blimey – off we go.
*For anyone outside of the UK, ‘Spoons is short for Wetherspoons, a chain of almost Vegas-like bars