2013 Austin MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Of Record Breakers, Deserved And Undeserved Attention, and Banquo's Ghost

Another day, another record. Marc Marquez now takes the place of Freddie Spencer as both the youngest rider ever to take a premier class pole, and youngest rider ever to win a premier class Grand Prix. If you had any doubt that Marquez is something special, then the inaugural round of MotoGP at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas should have removed it. Marquez is on the path which all great riders take, scoring a podium in his first race, pole and a win in his second. This is what preternaturally talented riders do: learn fast, and race fast, and win soon.

The manner of Marquez' win was what was most impressive. Together with his team, the Spaniard elected to run the harder rear tire, holding station when everyone else (except for fellow Honda rider Stefan Bradl) chose the softer of the two options. After overshooting the start, he slotted in behind his Repsol Honda teammate - a rider in his 8th season of MotoGP - evaluated how wear was affecting his rear tire, then pushed hard to pass Pedrosa in a strong and gutsy move through turns 5 and 6. He then nursed a front tire that had developed a minor problem home to take his maiden win in MotoGP, and take two of Spencer's records, both of which had stood since 1982. His win was not just a matter of talent, but also of great maturity, and of having the backing of arguably the strongest crew in the paddock.

Both Marc Marquez and his father Julian were keen to put his victory into perspective. "People remember the records as they are today, now," Julian Marquez told me, when I asked about it. "What you have to remember is that one day, a rider will come along and beat Marc's record. And from that day on, nobody will remember it was Marc who once held the record," he said, before adding rather ominously "what they will remember is who won the championship."

Marc's father also pointed out that his son had had plenty of time to break the record, as he was still 133 days younger than Freddie Spencer. And here he touches upon an interesting point: Marquez won at Austin because he is an exceptional talent, of course, but also because the Austin circuit clearly favored the Hondas. The Repsol Honda man had dominated the tests here last month, and pretty much dominated all of practice and qualifying. This was clearly a track that suited both him and his bike, given the strength of the Hondas at the test and the weekend.

This points to the dangers of putting too much stock in records: if the Austin race had taken place in October or November, Marquez may have had to wait for much longer for his first win. From Qatar to Jerez to, say, Laguna Seca, the first half of the MotoGP season is at tracks which favor the Yamaha, by and large (though Hondas have won a fair few races at those circuits). Had Austin been later in the year, Spencer's race win record may have endured, though his pole record was always like to fall early. Records are susceptible to the hands of fate; they are ephemeral. World championships are set in stone, and last forever.

Though Marquez finished ahead of his teammate, Dani Pedrosa was sanguine after the race. Qatar had been a major worry, not being able to be competitive all weekend, so to come to Texas and be in with a shot of the win was a giant confidence builder. Taking nothing away from his teammate - "Marc was super today," Pedrosa said at the press conference - Pedrosa said he had struggled with a fatigue cramp in his left triceps, making turning from right to left a problem. It was a fitness problem he needed to work on, he conceded, as other tracks with a lot of strong left-handed braking zones were coming up later in the season.

Where Jorge Lorenzo should have been elated, he ended the race with a sense of frustration. He had not expected to be so close to the front runners, after struggling with grip all weekend. To get within a couple of seconds of Marquez and Honda was more painful than being beaten by over ten seconds, Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg explained, when there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe, with another day at the track, Lorenzo could have run the pace of the two Hondas, and challenged for 2nd, or maybe even 1st. Knowing that a much better result was possible made things worse.

The change in competitiveness had come when Lorenzo's team decided to gamble on a revised gearbox strategy, shortening second gear on his factory Yamaha M1 so that he could use second to get around the hairpins and get better drive out of them. It had been a gamble during warm up which had paid off - "you've normally tried all the variations of set up, so in the warm up you try something a bit more off the wall," Zeelenberg explained. It paid off, getting Lorenzo much closer than he had expected to be. But not quite close enough.

Three seconds behind Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow crossed the line in what he regarded as possibly his best race in MotoGP. He had been fast, consistent and made only one mistake, running wide when he attempted to pass Stefan Bradl. But even that had been forgivable: better to run wide when trying to pass, than not to try to pass at all. Once past the German, Crutchlow ramped up his rhythm, and for much of the second half of the race, he was the fastest man on the track.

What is remarkable about Crutchlow's achievement is that he did it without any testing - he finished ahead of both Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi, who had both tested at the track previously, and after a fire caused massive problems for the Tech 3 squad on Thursday, including damaging a set of tire warmers so they only worked on one side of the tire, not both, a difficulty spotted in time by the Bridgestone technicians. Crutchlow started the race at Austin with a minimum of preparation. Yet he still ended up fourth in the race.

Crutchlow's enjoyment was dampened by the fact that no one came to his press debrief after the race. A combination of an overly long press conference, and a timing clash with Valentino Rossi, whose debrief had been hastily rescheduled with complete disregard to the previously agreed schedule, drawn up so that as many journalists as possible got to speak to as many riders as possible. A group of journalists gathered to hear the man who came 6th, ten seconds behind Crutchlow, but no one came to see Crutchlow, who had just ridden one of the best races of his career. The media are a fickle mistress, more interested in fame than in actual achievement.

What the journalists who went to speak to Rossi did learn is that the reason he finished so far down the field was in part a brake problem, where a chip from one of his disks had come off, causing a vibration under braking. The other part - and perhaps at least as significant - was that they had tried a radically revised weight distribution during the warm up, which had turned out to work quite well. So in the race they went even further, but that proved to be a step too far. Rossi was simply never in contention this weekend. He will be hoping for better at Jerez, a track he likes and a track where he is fast. Though not as fast as Crutchlow in the test.

Three more performances are worthy of mention. Firstly, Aleix Espargaro, who is getting in among the tail enders of the satellite bikes on his CRT machine. Espargaro took eleventh spot, ahead of Bradley Smith and Ben Spies, and not that far off the time of the tenth place man Nicky Hayden.

Secondly, Nico Terol. Terol has shown promise, but never really delivered, especially since joining the Moto2 class. But the confidence boost of a podium at Valencia last year came at exactly the right time, giving Terol the willpower to trust his machinery more, and push harder. That has so far paid off, bringing him his first win in the intermediate class.

And finally, Alex Rins. The young Spaniard certainly has the right bike - the factory KTMs are almost unbeatable - but he still has Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom to contend with. Rins disposed of them as if they were not there, leading the first, interrupted race with ease, holding Viñales off without too much difficulty. In the restarted 5 lap race, Rins this time kept Luis Salom at bay, Salom running wide in a final do-or-die attempt to get past Rins. This is Rins' second season of Moto3, and his already a title contender. The young Spaniard is definitely someone to keep your eye on.

And finally, the question of "absent friends." The Circuit of The Americas is exactly 5,513 meters long or 3.426 miles. That it is 3.4. miles should come as no surprise, the #34 helped to design the track. Like Banquo's ghost, Kevin Schwantz haunted the proceedings at COTA, his absence more keenly felt than his presence would have been. Whatever the wrongs and rights of the case, we can only hope for a speedy resolution to the situation. It leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth, that much is for sure.

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...weekend. While I might have preferred a slightly different finishing order, it mattered not in light of the fact that I met and got autographs and photos with all the riders(and nearly got run over and killed by a HILARIOUS and friendly Cal Crutchlow), was given the entire back half of Mike DiMeglio's bodywork from his bike, and... oh, yeah...I got to meet my favorite moto journalist. All in all, it really couldn't have been a better weekend.

as in Qatar, it appeared that MM had the beating of DP at his disposal, and was content to follow for a while, and then seemingly pass at will. On the evidence thusfar, Danni's days are numbered, and the championship will be between Jorge and Marc. I imagine quite a few agents are lining up outside Aleix's garage... oh, and nice to see Cal remember how to overtake!

This is the beginning of the end for Pedrosa. At least Jorge can write it off to COTA being "a Honda track"...but Dani just plain got beat, fairly decisively too. I think there's still enough left of that old (relative) mental fragility, to really affect him.

A bit sad, while I wasn't initially a Pedrosa fan, after last season I was really starting to warm up to him. If things go the way I think, he'll go down as one of the most talented guys not to win a premier class championship, IMO.

I'm not a pedrosa fan but I'm not ready to write him off either....

However, Dani's going to have to dig deeper than ever to meet the challenges this year of not only his teammate but the rest of the paddock as well... to my understanding Repsol require's one of the team to be Spanish but not both....With Casey, Dovi, and Hayden he could rest on his laurels to some degree because he was Spanish. Dani's got no excuses this year (and maybe he shouldn't of had them in the past). But he's going to have to put up or shut up this year, if not, me thinks he's going to get sent packing... (I bet cal would do well on that Honda!).

One thing is for sure - as a fan's we're in for, I hope, one of the best years of motogp for somewhile...

Bring on Jerez!

No-one turned up for Crutchlow's press conference!? Incredible. He's had two impressive rides so far this year, and is making great lap times, deserves better than that surely?

Keep doing what you're doing Cal, the podiums will come!

Cruthlow and Rossi discussion came out to be little biased as far i can see. when you have vibrations on 300+km/hr speeds then you know what is the problem. and journalist will go where they will get coverage which Maximum no. of people want to listen Cruthlow has long way to get that much popularity and Fan Following. and as far as After race Press debriefing he was attended by press after the Race. I saw it before writing a article writer should have his facts and figures right.

In the day Carl Crutchlow had won 9 WC titles and 100 plus victories, then he might get to the same level of Rossi media attention. Until then, he will get what he gets when sharing time with Lorenzo, Rossi and the riders that actually win something out even step in the podium...
Is tiring, reading week in week out, you English people, that CC is this and that and should have this and that... he should have Rossi's bike, Yamaha should have picked him over Dovisioso, etc., etc....
No one knew who CC was, but you... i have to go to Wikipedia to see what have we won...
Without checking the internet about Carl, the only thing that I remember is that he crashes a lot!

and as a journalist, which you claim to be, this type of biased comments suits you really bad.

Just to conclude, what I said about the biased comment regarding Carl and Valentino, I'd have said exactly the same if it was Lorenzo, Stoner, Dani, Marc and all the others who actually won something!

oh you say... Carl won a British supersport championship! nice for him, but who cares about that, but Britains?

I find this kind of myopic criticism of fair comment hard to understand.

Why leap to the defence of Rossi (or any other rider who actually won something as you say) when they are not being castigated in any way.

Real fans of racing find interest through the whole field, and the achievements of riders who aren't winning are well worth recognition. When they beat a rider with 9 WC titles and 100 plus victories and finish so close behind the current WC on a satellite bike and without the benefit of the pre-season test, that is well worth congratulating.

It is right to point out the injustice that all journalists chose VR's press debrief over Cal Crutchlow's, because this kind of injustice is a massive part of MotoGP racing. The fact that Cal appears to be thriving on that (and coming out on top) is a pleasure to watch and read about.

Your defence of Rossi misses the point that it is precisely because he has won 9WC and 100+ races and is the best since Mike Hailwood (look him up) that Cal's achievement is so notable.

You also miss the point that the journalists attending Rossi's press conference over Cal's was probably less to do with interest in the GOAT's own race story, and more to do with the need for a quote from him about MM.

Crutchlow won a World Supersport Championship
I remember him lapping almost 2 seconds quicker than anybody else at Imola, that's when I discovered him.

Congratulations to Marquez, as pointed out in the article he was really smart during the race, not rushing things. And some amazing slides at turn 10 !

Disappointed by Pedrosa though...

And i hope that was Rossi worst race of the year !

berating the journalist about getting his facts wrong.

Crutchlow was World Supersport Champion and WSBk race winner before moving up to MotoGP, and his name is not Carl.

If reading about him is tiring for you you'd better put aside your own bias and get used to it because you will be seeing and hearing a lot more about him over the next few years as on the evidence of COTA alone only Cal and Lorenzo have a prayer of living with MM pace. That's why he should have the same level equipment as Rossi made available to him now.

Another fact you got wrong is that the journalist, Mr Emmett, is Dutch not English.

And you also seem confused about the meaning and proper use of the term biased.

I'm not Dutch. I just live there. But I have lived there for such a long time that I feel more Dutch than English, so you're sort of right!

My impression is there's more going on with Pedrosa than just the mental anguish of being soundly beaten by his rookie team mate.

David wrote about Pedrosa's neck problem in pre-season and speculated about Dani's fitness vs Lorenzo's multiple race sims in testing. The impressive HD footage of the racing at Austin gave the impression of a very physical track.

I do find it hard to believe someone like Pedrosa isn't quite fit because of training attitude - maybe the crashes and injuries are catching up on him?

Bike racing is a funny old game where the role of fitness is often scoffed away by the "ride round it, mate" brigade and the impact of injuries on results seen as excuses. But one thing is for sure, nobody is going to be beating MM whilst nursing injuries.

Jerez is going to be quite a battle!

I'm sure Dani is very fit - the problem is "bike / race" fitness. They get so little track time (even including the test) that tracks test you in a way that practice just can't...

As an example - in college (university)I was a wrestler - in practice we regularly wrestle back to back matches day after day.

Fast forward to a tournament with the same amount of wrestling (as an average day in a 2-3 hour practice)... and the next day I'd feel like I needed a cab to take me to the bathroom. I was extremely fit but practices is not exactly like real competition. With adrelane etc... it's much harder to simulate than it would seem.

Here's Cal's Twitter from this A.M. as an example.

"You always know when you have raced a tough circuit like yesterday when you wake up and hands feel heavy and swollen ! Great track"

Arguing about who deserves the attention and who gets it is silly...

Rossi is popular, it doesn't matter where he finishes, he is and will be popular, most likely more so than any other rider until the day he retires... so what.

Whilst I agree with the essence of what David is saying and I agree, CC's performance deserves a lot of credit, why bring it up on this occasion? It's the same every race, Rossi failing at Ducati got mroe coverage than the people who won the Championship in those years, probably his favourite breakfast cereal would get more coverage.

...and I am right behind Cal being a Brit!

Cal is doing a great job this year, but Dovi did a better job last year. Cal has done nothing outstanding yet. He's just been really really solid.

So I understand the lack of media attention around him. But I'm a big fan of his and respect him a lot. But how can the international press get so excited about Cal when he's still not on the podium in his third year, while MM is winning races on his second round?

Just put it into perspective.

MM is on the a factory Honda with a well established race winning team. He is having everything thrown at him by Honda and Dorna, including rule changes, while Cal is on a non-factory bike that doesn't even get up dates (so far as his team say). I reckon it would have been a different story if Cal had copped the red carpet treatment like MM has been given. Cal has been a bit hit and miss previously but he's hauling ass now. He should have a factory machine.

But while he is fast and angry, he is still somewhat inconsistent. I know it sounds audacious to expect perfection when I am watching from my couch, but his mistakes are frequent. Thankfully he recovered well this week, but through last year and Qatar 2013 that has not always been the case.

It could obviously be a case of pushing available equipment to the limit, but he is still learning and has said as much himself. Only this year do his inputs seem smoother. Maybe this year's missing an apex or running off course was last year's DNF.

Either way, he is factory worthy. I just hope he begins to reel in some of his thoughts concerning Yamaha as constructors seem to have long memories (paging Max Biaggi and VR46 of Honda).

Well, I knew MM would get to the pointy end some time this season but not quite this quickly. It's premature to say he's the man to beat for the championship this year, after all there are a lot of tracks coming up that the others will do better on, but all the same, if I was a betting man I'd probably be putting a few quid on him now. About the only thing I feel very confident of is that so long as he doesn't do himself a big mischief along the way, once he's got the crown he'll be wearing it for a while.

As for VR getting all the attention, the thing that stands out on the forums this year is that people have become excited again, and that's a good thing. VR is a big celeb and everyone is wondering if he can still cut it, or even more, have a remarkable come back, so of course the media are VR hungry. I mean no disrespect to Cal but 4th place home never gets any attention unless there's a story to go with it, and as no-one seems to seriously see Cal as a title contender there isn't really a story. He's just one of the blokes who make up the gap between the top three and the CRT's. You could just as easily ask why the press weren't all over bradl. They'd have been in VR's garage even if he'd been beaten by the whole grid, because he's expected to be up at the very front. For all that I hope Cal does really well this year, but I fear he may never get the factory bike he so wants, unless VR has such a bad year that he quite this winter. Otherwise, in a couple of years time there'll be some other hot young thing in the frame.

I think the justification for mentioning the lack of interest in Cals performance on this occasion is that he is significantly faster than the other satalitte bikes, he beat 2 competative factory supported bikes yesterday and beat them well. He was also running a pace as fast as the front runners for much of the race. He's had a streak of very fast test, practise and qualifying laps too. So it seems fair comment to point out in fickle nature of MotoGP journos. It's not a big deal is it? Not sure why people feel they have to comment and say "oh you shouldn't have mentioned that about Cal blah blah"

Dovi did out perform him last year and he got plenty of praise on this site. It's also worth remembering though that Dovi's tally of podiums last year was assisted by Spies' season from hell and Stoner's injury.

While Cal might not be a title contender (just now) it's not out side the relms of posibility he could be a race winner and that is quite an exclusive group to be in.

I'd like to point out too that I am a Rossi Fan (not boy) and that I don't think this article is in anyway negative for Rossi. As usual it is balanced and objective. It's just a shame DE has received a backlash from some Rossi fans.

I don't disagree with anything you've said, all I'm really saying is that I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised by the fickleness of the press. And while I too am a big fan of VR I'd love to see Cal win a race, especially if it was a true "he was plain better" win rather than a win by default, as sometimes happens.

I don't disagree with anything you've said, all I'm really saying is that I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised by the fickleness of the press. And while I too am a big fan of VR I'd love to see Cal win a race, especially if it was a true "he was plain better" win rather than a win by default, as sometimes happens.

@daniel_pt - SPOT ON!!!

David, why are you doing this? It really sounds... It's getting tacky!

Estabilished HRC rider suddenly upset by younger teammate and Repsol backed rookie. What did he do?

Austin was no man's land and Marquez had a fantastic weekend. I didn't expect him to win so soon. But there are plenty of tracks comming up in which Pedrosa is very strong, not to mention those that will favour Yamaha. In which case Rossi might suddenly surprise us all, or Cal.

So, basically, it's a very long season and it's definitely too early to write Pedrosa off despite Marquez' rocketing start. And Lorenzo still is my favourite.

I had to think a bit there but this was the year DP nearly scuppered Nicky Hayden's championship, yes? Have to say DP is racing better than ever now, and I'd love to see him get his just reward. I don't think he was ever quite as good as VR at his peak, but all the same he's earned more glory than he's got.

This is hilarious...and don't we all have short memories. Marquez came in and did fantastically at Austin where the footing is more equal. He has the same number of laps at Austin on a big bike as his competition and he won...incredible accomplishment, no doubts there and a real testament to his talent.

But to write off Pedrosa after two races in 2013 and after the second half of 2012 that he had...LOL. It was Pedrosa that forced Stoner to crash at Germany last year, and indirectly forced him to overpush and crash (and end his title hopes) at Indy. The little man dominated Lorenzo. To think that Marquez can come in and beat him up on all these tracks where Pedrosa has hundreds of big-bike-laps and now tons of confidence is a bit optimistic.

And the one thing that Lorenzo and Pedrosa (the other title contenders) know very well that Marquez will learn soon (hopefully without injury) is that you cannot make a single mistake. Marquez WILL make mistakes this season that will cost him the championship, mainly because very few if any races this year will be as easy for him as Austin was and he will see just how fast Lorenzo and Pedrosa are. It appears he has more talent, but as Jerez testing showed, he needs to unlearn everything that he has done over the last couple years, whereas these other guys are on it and boomin' from lap #2 of FP1.

He will not win the championship this year...and neither will Rossi (just throwing that in there even though nobody is saying he could win like they are about Marquez).

Barring anything strange, it will be Pedrosa vs Lorenzo with Rossi and Marquez fighting for 3rd and Cal, Bautista and Bradl (yes in that order) fighting for 4th.

Yes, these are just my opinions...but until I see otherwise, I view it as FACT! If I'm wrong, cool, will be mega-entertaining either way! I love MotoGP! :)

Nice article as always David!

Pedrosa should have been written off two years ago. What I saw last year while watching MOTOGP on the Dorna site, was either Lorenzo or Stoner leading races and Pedrosa in third. And as the laps went on Pedrosa got smaller each and every lap.

Pedrosa wouldn't even have been a contender the last half of last year if Stoner hadn't taken himself out of the series. Honda needs to replace him with either of the Espargaro clan and while their at it, get rid of Bautista and think about ridding themselves of Bradl, a mid field rider if there ever was one.

"What I saw last year while watching MOTOGP on the Dorna site, was either Lorenzo or Stoner leading races and Pedrosa in third."

You may want to get your internet connection checked - what I saw last year was Stoner winning five races, Lorenzo winning six races, and Pedrosa winning seven races.

What I saw was Pedrosa winning races after Lorenzo pretty much had his title secure with just finishing behind him. If Lorenzo had to fight to secure his title the story would have been different. But this is just my opinion.

I think you are forgetting just how close it was between Pedrosa and Lorenzo last year. The second half of the year was all Pedrosa and Lorenzo's title was far from secured as you say. Pedrosa was running away with race wins and it seemed Lorenzo had no answer, the points gap was closing and closing fast, the momentum was all with Pedrosa and to be honest I would have bet on him taking the title. After the foul up at Misano Lorenzo was a bit safer but Pedrosa could still have taken the title although it was less likely. In the end they were seperated by 18 points, it's not much, the difference between finishing 1st or 9th.

In a previous article before the Qatar race, I made the prediction that if Marc didn't crash in Qatar or Jerez, that he would be the 2013 World Champion. My comment had at least 15 votes with a total of one star. Lets see how many stars my "standing by my prediction" comment gets now!

Marquez is like a fresh breeze into a stuffy room. I was hoping that Pedrosa would be able to find something and beat him, but Marquez was too good on the day. He will be a World Champion in the future. I do not think this year, but do feel he is a STRONG candidate for 2014.

Pedrosa. This man has talent. When he is on it, unbeatable. He showed it last year in a way he has never shown in the top class. I do not want to see him go out like Haga. Both men had the speed to beat multiple world champions in their primes. Both men were considered to have the speed and talent to be World Champions. But both men have not won a championship, (even though Haga did not get one due to a BS technicality in my opinion).

If Pedrosa does not win this year. I fear he never will. He will lose the status of the Spanish darling of Repsol, replaced by the younger, more marketable Marquez. With the loss of that status he may well be replaced by someone younger by Honda, who has placed faith in him, but not ever gotten a full reward.

Everyone keeps going on about the races he won last year when he basically had only two opponents - one of whom was either out or injured for a large part of the season and the other who wasn't riding to win after the other guy got injured. Pedrosa won races because for the second half of 2013 he had no real competition. Look beyond the second half of 2013 and Pedrosa and you can see for the other 6.5 years of his career as a factory Honda rider has never been good enough to beat the best guys on a regular basis.

And what are we seeing again this year, Pedrosa there or there abouts but failing to beat his vastly less experienced teammate and once again not winning races. Pedrosa will have to hope the top guys make a mistake and miss races. He's better than nearly every rider on the planet, just not the guys he needs to beat to take the title.

Haga is in the same boat realistically. But with Haga I do believe in the prime of his career he was riding inferior machinery, with the WSBK rules heavily stacked in favour of 1000cc twins

It is true that his years in the Motogp class do not reflect him being a Champion. But last year was the most consistant he has been without being his own worst enemy by crashing out, and injuring himself for a few races. Which is pretty much what he has done for years.

That fact that he did not do that for such a long streak last year shows that he has (finally), matured in the way he approaches a season. This is part of the reason why so many people are impressed with him. All the announcers have always said if he would stay healthy he could contend for the title. Last year he was healthy for probably the longest length of time in his recent Motogp years.

When you get fairly well beaten by a guy on the unofficial bike and finish not so far ahead of a guy on a bike that you pretty much declared uncompetitive, I think it's time to consider a farewell tour, Mr. Rossi. Announce it now while you still have a chance to climb on the podium (if not the top step) a few times more, then call it a career. don't hang on too long, destroying your myth and legend in the process [ there's a career in broadcasting there for the asking. Let the new kid from Spain take the fame and glory onwards.
Dani Pedrosa's body language said it all..."s__t, I got rid of that damn Stoner and now they've replaced him with THIS guy! No matter what I do it seems never enough" Will a wall be going up in the HRC box soon? Meanwhile, Mr. Lorenzo is counting on consistent top placings to net him the title, hoping a frustrated Pedrosa will throw it away a few times while the inexperienced new kid will do the same for HRC. Cal Crutchlow probably should be counting his blessings that the Ducati deal did not happen, he's doing just fine on the 2nd string Yamaha. Of course only the rest of the races will determine what will happen, but I hope for more battles for the win rather than the display we saw in Austin.

He rode through the pack to second as clearly the second fastest rider on the track. Just before that, he was second fastest at the Jerez test...

Because he didn't get his setup fixed at a new track on a bike he's still recovering his confidence, you think it's time to quit?

I think based on the evidence you're using, 95% of the grid should call it their farewell tour too.

Oh, that is without mentioning something went wrong with Rossi's brakes during the out lap. The guy is still one of the fastest guys out there at 34, enjoy his presence while he is still there.

It would be awesome to see JLO have to work to beat his teammate. Maybe Rossi can pick up the pace but it is hard to see him consistently beating JLO. Rossi simply is slow and offers way too many excuses. He didn't use to do this. When at Ducati, Rossi's gap to Hayden was quite small. But with Dovi the gap to Hayden is much larger. I doubt Hayden has slowed meaning only that Dovi is quite a bit quicker than Rossi on equal machinery. Works rides should go to the fastest riders, not the ones with faded glory. Rossi gets to keep his seat because his celebrity exceeds his pace.
It would be great to see some more new blood on a works bike. How about Cal switching places with Rossi? And for that matter, have Bradley Smith switch places with Aleix Espargaro. What more does Espargaro have to do to get a non CRT ride? How did Smith get his ride anyway? I'd like to see Smith try to outpace Depuniet.

The day Valentino finally hangs up his leathers and helmet... As much as i admire and adore him it is about time he fecked off and gave other up and coming riders a chance on the big stage. The man has squillions in the bank and could sit on his arse for the rest of his days raking the dosh in from his VR46 range etc etc.

The point at hand is CAL not Carl received very little coverage from the journo's for what was an awesome calculated ride on a bike that is a few levels lower than Jorge's or Vale's bikes. Remember they get the cream off the top of parts and Tech 3 get the sediment which they don't want. Ffs Cal finished TEN SECONDS in front of Vale by riding his arse off so give him the credit where it is due.
Yes i agree he does gob it off sometimes but when you see the rides he puts in, it is mostly justified.
How about a suggestion thrown out to Rossi? Swap bikes with Cal for a weekend and see who does what on each others bike. Personally i think Cal would be fighting for the top step and Rossi will still be where he has been the last two years, Mid field with Hayden et al.
The majority of posters on here are diehard Rossi fanboys, i am too but i believe others should be given a viable chance especially when Vale has absolutely NOTHING more to prove, not to us or himself.
Cal's time will come but Yamaha should give him more support to enable them having an all Yamaha podium lockout week in week out with the possibility of the positions being swapped about

Maybe, just maybe, Rossi still rides because it's a lot of fun and he still loves it. Instead of instigating the need for VR to "step aside", know that the best thing for MotoGP is for that new young talent to step on up, and Mr. Rossi to stay right where he is. The more riders on the grid, the better.

Rossi still brings in big sponsorship which Yamaha and the series

And obviously, when competetive, he is still enjoying it.

Yes, I wish that Crutchlow had better equipment, too. He's definitely earned it. Smart man to remain with Yamaha, too.

As for Pedrosa, well, he's just had the bad luck to be a contemporary of Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo and now Marquez. Doesn't make him a bad rider.

What he did to Hayden that year, however, still is a stain on his reputation. He has had much more than his share of special treatment, and has brought in a good salary. Can't say as I have too much sympathy for him.


I agree with much of your comment, actually most of it. The Hayden thing is old though. I'm American, let me just get that out if the way. It's only a "stain" to those die hard Hayden fans. To the rest of us, what we saw is Pedrosa make a slight mistake, hit a bump, and washed the front. It could have happened to anyone . It just happened to Dani(in his rookie year) and he just happened to hit his team mate. Hayden was very lucky to win his title. The cards fell just right for him and hey, sometimes that's how championships are won. Past that, no one can argue why Honda backed Dani.

I'm continually amazed at the lingering hate towards Dani from that one moment of over enthusiasm way back in 2006. Not only that they would hang on to the hate for so long, but also that from my perspective it was the best thing that happened to Hayden's championship. While he did ride well that year, the misfortunes of other riders undoubtedly fell very much in his favour and it was looking like a very soft championship. Dani taking him out brought it down to an all or nothing finale - "all in" said the sticker on Nicky's helmet - and Nicky held his nerve while VR choked.
In spite of just a single victory against the full field he'd confirmed he deserved the title and without Dani's error he wouldn't have had that opportunity.
All just an opinionated outsiders perspective of course... :P

>>Hayden was very lucky to win his title. The cards fell just right for him and hey, sometimes that's how championships are won.

You call having your employer have you test parts for next year's mini-bike while you are competing for the title 'lucky'?

Last year I felt bad for Dani and started to root for him but them he came up with this gem and I went back to my position of hoping for him to be the most successful rider never to win the title: “You win a championship because you are better overall than everyone else. Not because you get any help. We have seen some cases where a rider needs some points and a team-mate lets him by, maybe after a crash or something." His comment in my opinion was referring to Hayden and 2006. So fans are not the only ones with long memories.

>>Past that, no one can argue why Honda backed Dani.

It surely would not be because of any world titles he has brought them. I think if Honda had concentrated on building the first 800cc as a normal race bike instead of something designed around Pedrosa's small size they would have had a lot more success in the 800cc years. So they got a few wins and no titles. I think that is called penny-wise, pound-foolish.


Hey Chris, do you have any source on this quote from Dani? I would love to know the context.
A whole other matter: if Honda really decided to build the RCV around Pedrosa, is he really to blame? If some manufacturer would decide to build a bike around me, I surely wouldn't protest.

Pre or post race interview; when he was in the hunt and seeing Stoner get back from injury. I remember watching it as well but had a different takeaway from Chris, that he wasnt slapping Hayden around.

unfortunately its a crash.net link but it is a direct quote and not from the comments section. It was in the context of him asking Stoner for support in the title chase.


I didn't point the finger at Pedrosa over Honda's design brief but if you believe Alberto was not pushing hard in that direction then I have a bridge to sell you. And it does take some chutzpa to be a rookie and know it is going on and have no problem with it. In the end that approach was a dismal failure and Pedrosa as much as Hayden suffered for it.

>>I remember watching it as well but had a different takeaway from Chris, that he wasnt slapping Hayden around.

Who else in the past 15 years was in the situation of being ahead in the points chase then getting in a crash and being behind on points then winning? And it happening between teammates?


... raking over these old coals. My own (probably skewed) memory of that year was that VR was the dead cert favourite but his bike kept packing up and whatever, but that he did absolutely blow it in that last race of the season. Did Nicky deserve the championship. Hell yes. Most of those guys deserves a crown of gold for their skill, courage and talent; these are the cream of the crop, and the gap from front to back is entirely relative. Plus, every single champion gets there through a combination of many many things, not least of which is pure luck (aka right place at the right time). Would Criville have won in '99 if doohan hadn't hit the kerb? or Kenny Rogers jr the following year, if criville hadn't become ill? or for that matter, casey stoner in 2007 if everyone had been on bridgestones. I'm sure there are examples relating to VR though I can't think of any offhand.

I have the 2006 season review DVD and have watched it many times - it was a better season of racing than most people give credit for.

Two things stand out - the first is that Nicky Hayden rode bloody hard all season long and in most races he was right in the thick of the battle for the podium. He certainly didn't just ride around collecting points, and he also had to overcome some dubious decisions made by his team.

The other is that Pedrosa too rode hard all season and was more aggressive on track than people think him capable of. The common comment on Pedrosa is that he can't pass, totally untrue, in 2006 he made just as many aggressive passes as any other title contender.

Then there is the Repsol team clash... at the time everyone was outraged, but it really wasn't that terrible in the context of the season, and as someone stated elsewhere in the comments here it leveled the playing field between Hayden and Rossi. After that the title was either man's to lose, and Hayden kept it together better than Rossi did.

If you want a little more insight into Pedrosa's mindset late in the 2006 season, read "Ring Of Fire" by Rick Broadbent. It's an awesome read in general and well worth getting hold of (try your local library, mine has it).

Rossi has brought no sponsorship except for himself. Yamaha do not have a title sponsor.

Keep repeating those myths though. I though David professed this was an evidence based site, not seen a lot of that, just opinion.

Yep Marquez is indeed as sensational to watch as Stoner. Shame he's just another drone when it comes to interviews, though. That's a big part of what I will miss about Stoner, but then again Crutchlow is doing a good job of filling that void with his honest appraisals of what's going on in the GP circus.

Do you honestly think anyone will care at all about Justin Bieber 16 years after he first gained international popularity. Dear God I hope not!

'I thought I'd miss Stoner tbh, but Marquez is just as entertaining to watch.'
+1 I used to love watching Stoner drift the rear, but with Marquez it looks like the front & the rear are sliding......havent seen that since Mick!

We are talking about cal's bike being so different than the one of rossi and lorenzo but do we really know how different?

Rossi and Lorenzo's bikes are equipped with faster riders on top!

Though Honey Badger sure can turn frustration into fast lap times...

Responses to the usual place.


Afkev, Look at the Qatar race to see how Cal was much slower down the straight than the Hondas, whereas Rossi was almost equal.
Don't know the difference at Austin, but there's no reason to believe that they found more top speed from one race to the next.
And not being a Rossi fanboy, I think it is unfair Cal had NO-ONE show up at the press conference. Very unprofessional by the journo's, acting like fanboys.

Cal said in post race in Qatar that he changed engine maps lowering his top speed and that is why he couldn't pass, because he spent the lap just trying to catch up and then would get hammered on the straight. He did it because of some error or miscalc with the fuel management. Ended up with fuel at the end of the race and he was bummed about that but since I have yet to see anyone here mention it I am guessing nobody here watches the interviews. Maybe that is why none of the journos went to his post race debrief. If you recall Rossi had enough speed at Qatar but he also needed a ride from iannone to make it to parc ferme!

Man I love the interviews, but here in Australia the idiots who program MotoGP on Network Ten or OneHD (same network) cut the coverage after the podium ceremony, and sometimes we don't even get that!

Bugger off N10, give the coverage back to Foxtel who know how it should be done.

come on, let's be fair here - rossi had the humiliation of barely a soul pitching up during some of the ducati days. the media attention doesn't mean very much, it's just fluff, and I doubt whatshisname that runs yamaha looks to motorcycle news to spot the next protege.

Cals bike is simply the 2012 bike. Lorenzo and Rossi have the new bike with revisions/improvements. And Bold New Graphics.

No, Cal almost certainly has the 2013 engine. Several onboard audio samples from Qatar showed him shifting at 16,400+, well over the 2012 bike's 16,300 hard limit.

Since the '12 engine was supposed to be 6 per season and the '13 is 5 per I would think it a safe bet to say he has the '13.

My understanding of the Yamaha system is that the tech3 bikes start the same at the season start and then as the factory bikes get improvements the satellite bikes are made to lag behind. 2 races in and with lorenzo still switching between old and new chassis, I can't really see how Cal's bike is that far behind. The electronics probably are a bit but the people who really know how much if anything is different don't seem to talk about it.

When cal knew (latest brembo calipers) he said what was different.

Yep that's how Tech3 has historically operated, running factory spec at seasons start then doing their own R&D while the factory bikes get all the new factory parts, but I'm sure I read that Cal was on last years bike... maybe it was just for the tests.

Crutchlow has done an excellent job in 2013 to date which should not be underestimated as lightly as some posters are suggesting, however;

Silly season 2013 for Crutchlow could be a total damp squid no matter how well he performs this year, which could be a real shame. Both Lorenzo and Rossi have 2014 contracts with Yamaha, so there is no room at the (Yamaha Factory) Inn.

Dani Pedrosa, Bradl and Bautista have all signed through 2014 season. What he's got maybe as good as he can get before 2015......

I'll state my believe that if he continues his current rate of development and learns how to get a MotoGP bike off the start line (his biggest weakness to date) then yes, he will totally deserve a full factory ride. Writing him off because he's not Rossi is shortsighted and does the talent of all the top riders a disservice.

Cal deserves credit because he has taken another step over the winter.
Can someone please give Espargaro a prototype!

What a great race to watch? I mean the first few laps with everyone fighting and passing was just awesome and we hardly get to watch that kind of race.

As much as I like Cal, it is not Rossi fault that the media clamors to him.

I am impressed by Dovi race. I hope they keep making improvements and catching up to the front riders.

Lorenzo is great rider but does not have the bin it to win it attitude. Never did. Too calculating for points if winning is not achievable. That is why I like Stoner and Rossi who just go for it and do their best and fight to win.

I still hope my two fav's do great, Rossi and Dovi. :-)

He did well for sure. We'll see what he has in the European rounds. I feel it's going to be much the same though. 20+ secs off the win. The same as every Ducati rider, bar one.

What is important about his performance is the relation to Nicky's. Nick better step up or this might be his last year on a factory bike. Too many good young riders coming up to continually sign a mid pack rider.

"Lorenzo is great rider but does not have the bin it to win it attitude. Never did."

I guess you didn't watch Lorenzo's rookie season then?

I wouldn't say Jorge rode for points. According to his press release, they were hoping to get what they could in points. When they found something in changing gearing to get thru the esses, he was upset that he couldn't find that last tenth of a second to run with them. I believe there is plenty of fight in JL!

'Win or Bin' is admirable... to a limited degree.
WoB arguably cost Kevin a title or two, prevented Biaggi from ever being a realistic challenger, and neatly ended Stoner's 2012 hopes. Lorenzo has proven himself willing and able to mix it up, and the fact that he does (rarely these days) crash out of races proves to my satisfaction that he is not just cruising around collecting points.

As for Rossi vs. Cal, VR46 has made a career out of pandering to the media. While it may not be his 'fault,' he is, IMO, largely responsible for the current situation. That said, the saccharine fawning over MM demonstrated by the press may soon leave even Rossi feeling a bit lonely. You know it's bad when our much respected Kropo seems in danger of falling under the spell! (Fight it, David. You must resist! :D )

I don't even need to see the x-ray plates to tell you how much JL is going to suffer when he hits his 50's, due to his win it or bin it attitude in the first couple of senior class years. He's by no means my favourite personality on the grid and to be honest I find it quite boring watching him more or less doing ghost laps one after the other, but I must hand it to him, he gave 110% back then, must have realised he wasn't going to get there without changing his approach, became silky smooth, and here he is, a 2 times champion. You do what you have to.

To go slightly off topic, I think Scott Redding has been studying JL's approach - for a man who usually looks like he thinks it's speedway he was running on rails in Qatar, less so austin, but the difference was startling. And while I don't want to diss any of the riders out there, it amazes me that he hasn't been recognised as the brit with real star quality. Just my opinion.

Pedrosa could potentially be the teammate of 3 different WC at HRC. Blaming the bike is certainly not an option. He's either not as good as the main competitors, or somehow, year after year a set of unfortunate events undermine his campaign. He's fast enough to follow Lorenzo's formula by racking podiums and pounce when the win is up for grabs. It worked for Hayden when he only won 2 races in his way to the championship. With 18 rounds, you need no less than 350 points to win this WC. You can theoretically win the WC by never wining a race. All you have to do is finish every race on the podium.

Pedrosa has talent by the bucket load, he just isnt lucky.

Still didn't win it. Stoner getting hurt, Lorenzo being knocked off and losing an engine early.. Sure Dani had a disaster at Misano, but on balance the title was there for the taking if he was good enough.

Who needs 'luck' when you have Darth Puig in your corner? Dani enjoyed the full backing of Mighty HRC from 2006 to 2010. The 2007 Pedrocycle was, despite the #1 plate on the nose, built specifically for Dani, and all further development of the bike was centered around his specific needs. Hayden was lucky to get a new fairing and other basic ergonomic needs. Sorry, but I just can't see how 5 years of factory support constitutes 'bad luck.'

I agree that he may not be lucky concerning accidents as he breaks things easily, but always seem to gut it out after injury. Other than that, I consider him very lucky given he essentially unseated a current World Champ and teammate through a bike design that looked like a 1/32 replica and relegating #69 to factory test mule.

I do question his burning desire to be World Champion. In interviews I have heard him state that some years he just didn't have the burning desire. That is a huge point not to be overlooked.

Also, I think pressure gets to him. He won his races last year after #99 was playing it safe and protecting his lead through unbelievable precision and consistency. Make no mistake, he raced briallantly in some tough conditions, but without overstating it, isn't this the same as a guy that practices his given sport well but then can't perform during the game? So, while there is "pressure" to perform, there was less "pressure" to perform because the title was a foregone conclusion by the time he really started to rack up the wins.

all this is of course IMHO.

The most impressive thing to me about Marquez' ride was its level of control and restraint. He didn't get overwhelmed, didn't get crazy, watched Dani and learned, made a clean pass, and didn't throw it away trying to stretch out a lead he didn't need. It was calm, cool, level-headed and efficient. It was the race win of a seasoned professional executing the job at hand with minimal risk - you don't get extra points for winning by a big margin.

A couple years ago, Sebastian Vettel won in Australia at the beginning of the season, and when they cut to his in-car radio after he crossed the line, there was no yelling, no celebrating, just a quietly spoken "Thank you" to the crew. That told me right there that he was likely going to be champion - he had fully expected to win that race and executed the plan perfectly.

I know Marquez is hugely experienced. But damn, he didn't win that by luck or by taking huge risks and somehow hanging on as he was riding on or over the edge. That was executed perfectly - and executed is a very good word.

He appears to have an old head on young shoulders at this level. Many expecting him to throw it away and many anticipating the same. With much of Stoner's old crew,a style not too dissimilar from Stoner and data from said HRC side of the Repsol garage,he's certainly enjoyed the luxury of entering the class and team with a great wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on.
What impresses me is the self discipline he's imposed upon himself in the opening two rounds.
It seems as though his MO is premeditated. Get in behind a real quickie like Dani,George or whomever on the day,learn and capitilize if feasible.
During their early outings in GP,Casey and later,George would just go for broke.
Marc seems to be a little more circumspect until he's sussed it all out.
Exceptional performance by him thus far and long may it continue.
I do believe he will find it a little tougher when the circus gets to Europe. Not much,but tougher nevertheless.
Two rides worth a mention in Austin were obviously the performances of Calvin and Dovi.
Oh yeah,erstwhile team mates. Long may the racing gods smile upon them. I think their sometimes insane battles last year at Tech 3 forced both to up their level. It certainly appears that way. Pity about the kit. Dovi learning a new bike and Cal stuck with the Grade B M1.

while taking nothing away from MM, don't you think JL, CS, and the much missed MS would have been less win it or bin it if they'd had the best bike on the grid from day one? Someone remind me, did JL go straight on to the M1, or did he spend a mandatory year on some heap of spare parts? I've forgotten. Senior moment. Anyway, I know the others did.

Cal has shown that he is very good. Not yet great and far from an "alien".

Sadly, with his scruffy appearance and accent that is hard to understand for English people, let alone foreign journalists, he will continue to fail to attract media attention.

He desperately needs a makeover and some lessons in media-speak. Sitting in his chair in the pits, mumbling about how good his team are is simply boring to the press and public alike.

Once he stops sounding like a minor league footballer and starts to make intelligent and perceptive remarks, he will find journalists actually want to hear what he has to say!

Cal is from Coventry, it's hardly an obscure accent...

I have no problem understanding him whatsoever =/

Aussie here, and also have no problems understanding everything he says. And for my money Crutchlow is one of the best quotes in the paddock, he really says what he sees and feels.

I partly agree. He needs to stop wearing black and yellow, doesn't suit him. Ought to try blue and white, or even orange and red, but never red alone. Think he'd find it made him more successful overnight.

A few here mention 2006. I believe that was the first time for many, many years that the championship went to the final round to be decided. It was like an old speedway World Final, and on the big day, one rider choked and the other won the title, deservedly so. On Pedrosa: David, next time you get a chance, take a look at his arms. How many scars do you see? He may be a wee bloke but he has a BIG ticker and he has a lot of talent. However, that said, I still think Lorenzo on the Yamaha is a slightly better bet for the championship. After getting all the crashing out of the way in his rookie years, he's been fast, smooth - and relentless. If there's a chance to win, he will keep pushing all the way. Crutchlow? Well, he appears to be maturing on the bike but he sounded like a whinging Pom early on with his bleats about equipment etc. Hopefully he will gain a sunny disposition, be happy to have a ride and continue on with the job he has started so well this year. Aleix Espargaro: Excellent result and let us hope this spurs further development - from both Italian manufacturers of 1000cc V4s. A bit of extra zest from the ART Aprilia V4 motor would get Espargaro further up the field and when the development comes from Ducati we could be in for some very entertaining racing. One thing is for sure: Dovizioso would LOVE to use the Ducati to beat Rossi on the Yamaha. Imagine how the Italian (and English) press would react to that. Maybe, just maybe, this year's title will go to the final round to be decided. Let us hope so. Finally, on the subject of bias, did anyone spot a set of load scales in the Rossi garage?