2014 Valencia Sunday Round Up: Of Dodgy MotoGP Weather, Fuel Issues in Moto2, and Miller vs Marquez in Moto3

It was a fitting finale to one of the best season in years. The arrival of Marc Marquez in MotoGP has given the series in a boost in the arm. Not just in the premier class, the influence of Marquez reaches into Moto2 and Moto3 as well. Tito Rabat's move to the Marc VDS team completed his transformation from a fast rider to a champion, but the schooling and support he received from the Marquez brothers at their dirt track oval in Rufea made him even stronger. And Marc's younger brother Alex brought both talent and Maturity to Moto3.

It made for great racing at Valencia. The Moto3 race featured the typical mayhem, but with extra edge because there was a title on the line. Tito Rabat tried to win the Moto2 race from the front, as he has done all year, but found himself up against an unrelenting Thomas Luthi. And in MotoGP, Marc Marquez set a new record of thirteen race wins in a single season, despite being throw a curve ball by the weather.

Marquez was the first to downplay his taking the record of most wins in a season from Mick Doohan. "Doohan won more than me," Marquez said. "He won twelve from fifteen races. Thirteen is a new record, but not so important." Though it is admirable that Marquez can put his own achievement into perspective when comparing it to Doohan's, that is not the full context. Doohan actually twelve of the first thirteen races in 1997, making his win rate even bigger. Then again, Doohan had to beat Tady Okada, Nobu Aoki and Alex Criville, while Marquez has had to fend off Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

Even Doohan's win rate pales in comparison with those of John Surtees and Giacomo Agostini, who both had perfect seasons in 1959 and 1968 respectively. But the 1959 season had only seven races, and the 1968 ten races, a good deal less than the current total of eighteen.

What this really highlights is the futility of comparing records: different eras saw very different riders facing very different competitors on very different bikes. Trying to compare one with another requires the use of so many correcting factors as to render such comparison meaningless. Each rider is stuck with the races, the bikes and the competitors of his own era. Marquez' record of thirteen wins is impressive whichever way you look at it.

The way Marquez took that thirteenth win was exemplary for his entire season. After a modest start, he fought his way through to the front, then upped the pace beyond that of his challengers to follow. He mastered treacherous conditions to open a gap on Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, and then motored home to victory.

But he did not have it all his own way: Andrea Iannone had taken off like a scalded cat, leading the race from the start. While his tires were still fresh, the Pramac Ducati rider held a commanding lead. Once the first signs of wear started to appear, he was caught by Marquez and Rossi, and then passed by both. He did not roll over easily, though, putting up an exhilarating and fierce defense, passing straight back when Marquez got by, always ready to counter attack. The Ducati riders had all warned that tire performance dropped drastically after ten laps, and on lap eleven, Iannone was forced to concede, first to Marquez, then to Rossi and Pedrosa, before starting to drop quickly down the field. Iannone's race was effectively over when he followed Jorge Lorenzo into the pits to swap bikes, a gamble which failed spectacularly to pay off for Lorenzo, and left Iannone circulating at the back after following the Spaniard's lead.

Lorenzo took the decision to pit when the rain started getting heavier after the halfway mark. The race had started dry, but the white flag came out when the first few spots of rain started to appear after the first lap had been completed. The threat of rain had hung in the air all morning, but the first real drops appeared during the race. The north end of the circuit, the end of the straight and the first corner remained dry throughout, the rain falling more at the other end, in Turn 8 and the final corner. Judging conditions became tricky, grip changing almost lap by lap.

The aftermath of Lorenzo's huge Assen crash last year still weighs heavily on his mind. At the Dutch track this year, he rode a miserable race, lacking confidence in the half-wet, half-dry conditions. Valencia was similar, the already slick surface rendered even more greasy by the rain. Lorenzo's confidence once again went out the window, and after fighting his way forward from getting pushed wide at the start, he took a gamble on entering the pits to swap bikes once the rain got heavier. That gamble had paid off handsomely at Aragon, the rain getting progressively worse making wet tires the best choice. At Valencia, the rain let up again, leaving Lorenzo lapping ten seconds slower than the rest. On lap 25, he gave up, pulling into the pits and retiring before he could be lapped.

Lorenzo's explanation was simple. His goal was to secure second overall in the championship, which meant trying to win the race. He needed a strong start, and a few decent opening laps if he wanted to have a shot at victory. Losing ground at the start had put him in a difficult position, and seeing Marquez pull away made the task nigh on impossible. He gambled on the bike swap, and once he saw that had failed, he gave up. Lacking confidence to push on slicks, and feeling again the sense of unease from Assen, he pulled into the pits. Just how the Movistar Yamaha bosses felt about such an easy capitulation is unclear. Certainly, Lorenzo's objective for the race was beyond reach. Whether that justifies just giving up altogether is another question.

Lorenzo's failure handed Valentino Rossi second place in the championship on a plate. Frankly, though, Rossi did not need much help from his teammate. The Italian's remarkable revival meant he could hold on to second place in the race, giving him second in the championship by right. In the conditions, second was the better position to be in: he could see where Marquez was struggling, and knew that if the Repsol Honda made the corner, then he too should be able to make it through. The conditions were terrible, Rossi said. "The worst for a rider. You can crash at every corner." Having Marquez ahead had made his job that little bit easier. "From behind, you have a small advantage, because you think, if he does not crash, I can go at the same speed."

Rossi had been challenged by Dani Pedrosa for a while, but once the rain started to get heavier, Pedrosa too lost some confidence, quickly dropping back several seconds. But after crashes at Sepang and Aragon, and being taken out at Phillip Island, Pedrosa knew he had to finish the race. Comfortably in third, Pedrosa accepted rolling home in third, and taking a podium. He had at least had a slightly stronger start, and been able to compete a little better from the start, a problem he has suffered with all season. With a new crew chief starting from Monday, and several new mechanics, Pedrosa will be hoping his 2015 season is much better than this year.

Behind the podium, several fierce battles raged. At the head of them, the two factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. The two men were taking very few prisoners, passing each other multiple times a lap on the last few laps. In the end, it was Dovizioso who prevailed, holding off Crutchlow to take fourth. Both men praised a hard but enjoyable battle, fought all the way to the line. Dovizioso was pleased to have made a strong recovery after struggling in qualifying and practice, while Cal Crutchlow was glad to have scored a solid result, topping off a very strong charge in the last five races. It was a reversal of the first half of a difficult year, Crutchlow regaining the confidence and mental fortitude he had lost after his bad crash at Austin. Ending his time at Ducati on a high was crucial, to be able to start testing on Monday with the LCR Honda team, and try to be competitive from the start.

Behind the Ducatis, the Espargaro brothers were battling it out for sixth. They had had the company of Bradley Smith, but an error put him in the gravel at Turn 8, then an obstructive marshal prevented him from taking a shortcut through to Turn 13, forcing him to turn around and then tip over again. That saw him lose over thirty seconds, and rejoin way down the order. It was a costly situation, Smith losing seventh in the championship, and the accompanying bonus.

That came as a godsend for Aleix Espargaro, who had already been forced to kiss goodbye to a big bonus he had been promised for finishing sixth when he was punted off two races in a row. Smith's misfortune meant he could recover some of the cash for a seventh place, though he could not finish ahead of his brother. Pol Espargaro's sixth place in the championship is an impressive debut for the Spaniard, securing him the title of Rookie of the Year.

Though he was happy with his title, his finishing position and his bonus, Pol Espargaro was less pleased with the way the race went. Espargaro had been very strong in both practice and qualifying, and was second fastest in the morning warm up, just 0.059 behind Marc Marquez. The problem, he said, was that every time he was strong in practice, something happened with the weather, making conditions on the track difficult and grip levels uncertain. This, Espargaro said, was his biggest weakness, riding in the wet, but even more so, riding in half-dry, half-wet conditions, where grip was difficult to judge. It was what he needed to work on most, and with rain predicted for Tuesday, the second day of the post-race test, he was determined to get as many laps in the poor weather as he could.

Though Tito Rabat had already wrapped up the Moto2 title at Sepang, he came to Valencia with a point to prove. Rabat had been riding conservatively at the last couple of races, as he closed in on his first ever world title, settling for podiums where previously he had been going all out for wins. With the title in the bag, he could go all out for victory. Rabat took off at the start, as he had done so many times on his way to victory, but he found himself up against a relentless Tom Luthi. The Swiss rider chased Rabat all race long, hounding him all the way to the line.

It looked like Rabat had finally shaken off Luthi in the last half of the final lap, but as the Spaniard drove out of the final corner towards the line, his front wheel appeared to lift, then his bike slowed dramatically, before surging forward again. That allowed Luthi to catch and pass Rabat and take his second win of the season. Rabat shook his head in disbelief, but celebrated his title in front of his home fans nonetheless.

What happened? The team said after the race it had been a fuel starvation problem causing the bike to surge, then slow. To the untrained eye, it looked like a failed wheelie went wrong. We have no reason to expect the team to cover up a mistake by Rabat, but without access to the data, we cannot be 100% certain. It is easiest to accept their explanation and move on.

Valencia was much less successful for Rabat's teammate Mika Kallio. The Finn was aiming to secure second in the championship, making it a Moto2 1-2 for the Marc VDS Racing team. Kallio achieved his objective, but in the cruelest possible way. Kallio was taken out by Maverick Viñales on the first lap, the Spaniard putting both of them out of the race. With both men failing to score points, Kallio held on to second by default, as Viñales was the only man capable of taking second from him.

Luthi's victory at Valencia provided the final irony of the 2014 Moto2 season. It brought the total number of wins for the Swiss manufacturer to three, with two of them coming in the last four races. In total, there were five Suters in the top ten, and only two Kalexes. Despite that, there will be only one Suter on the grid next season, the rest of the teams having switched to Kalex. It is a testament to the blinkered, short-sighted conservatism of the Grand Prix paddock that they should all opt for the same solution, despite demonstrable success by other manufacturers. A strong team with a top rider could gamble on using a Suter, ensuring strong support from the Swiss chassis maker. Now, they most throw in their luck with the Kalex hordes, and hope to find other areas to shine in.

Once again, though, Moto3 was the race of the day. The race turned out to be as fierce as expected, with the 2014 Moto3 title at stake. All Alex Marquez had to do was get a podium to be champion, though that in itself is a massive challenge in a field as tight. Jack Miller faced a bigger challenge. Not only did he have to win the race, he had to find a way to ensure that Marquez ended up off the podium.

Both men gave it all they had, Miller trying to use fellow KTM riders Niccolo Antonelli, Isaac Viñales, Karel Hanika and Husqvarna man Danny Kent to put some riders between him and Marquez. Viñales looked like straying from helping to hindering by leading the race, giving Miller work to do to catch him. But in the end, it was the massed ranks of the Hondas which won the day. Alex Rins tangled with Miller and held him up, though that only temporarily delayed Miller. At the end, Miller took the race win, while Alex Marquez held his nerve and finished third, a last ditch attack by Danny Kent failing when his rear wheel slid in Turn 12, allowing Marquez to escape.

The rides by both Miller and Marquez were impressive. The pressure was all on Marquez, as it was his race to lose. He never faltered, despite getting caught up in the occasional rough and tumble of Moto3, and having to pick his way forward. His concentration and ability to stay focused throughout the race, and indeed the weekend, was what made the difference in the end. Alex Marquez came to Valencia with a job to do, and he did it.

So did Jack Miller, though he could only control where he finished, not where his rivals did. He gave it his best shot, but when it was clear he had to switch his attention to winning the race, he did just that. The way he picked up his pace to close down Isaac Viñales was extraordinary, passing three riders and closing a gap of nearly two seconds in just three laps. Like Marquez, Miller rode like a champion at Valencia, but unlike Marquez, Miller had already squandered his shot at the title.

Miller was visibly angry and disappointed after the race at Valencia, shaking Alex Marquez' hand, but rejecting the hand of Alex Rins, who had run Miller wide and helped his Honda teammate to the title. He complained in Parc Ferme that the incident at Aragon where Marquez had knocked him off had cost him the title, and on the podium, where he was being presented with the trophy for winning the race, had a face like a child who has just been told that Christmas has been canceled for the foreseeable future.

In the press conference some twenty minutes later, Miller had calmed down a little, though he still managed a jab at Marquez, saying that he thought the tough passes throughout the race were just part of racing, and that he wasn't going to complain "because I'm not a b***h." He was more frank about his own mistakes, saying that his error at Assen had cost him just as much as what happened at Aragon. He had also fouled up at Mugello, but by taking Marquez out at the same time, that left the pair even.

Miller's behavior certainly made him look like a sore loser, but arguably, that is what riders are supposed to be at the very highest level of the sport. Elite athletes of any sort hate losing – often, they hate losing more than they love winning – and this is what drives them to achieve what they do. Many is the rider's wife, girlfriend or partner who has tales to tell of Monopoly pieces, X-Box controllers, and Snakes and Ladders counters which have been smashed and flung around their houses, after a rider lost what was supposed to be a fun game among friends. That is not how top athletes operate. Of course, the smarter champions find a way to smile in public, then get their revenge in secret, often in rather small and quite pathetic ways.

While all champions are sore losers, they need to be fast if they expect the public to accept their complaints. A rider who is genuinely quick can get away with moaning when they lose, as long as they back their complaints up with plenty of wins. Riders who only ever finish tenth, or fifteenth, or twenty third, need to always put a brave face on things. Miller has demonstrated he is capable of winning races, and at Sepang and Valencia, capable of controlling them completely, and so a few nasty comments may well be allowed to slip under the radar.

At least Miller is not afraid to show his emotions, nor is he willing to stick to the script handed out to him by the PR spokesperson. His honesty is refreshing – though sometimes also grating – and makes a welcome change from the bland corporate newspeak regurgitated by too many riders. Miller can play either Hero or Villain, but he does both with flair. He will add a welcome touch of spice to MotoGP next year.

In the end, Miller succumbed to Marquez' maturity, both in the race and during the season. Speaking to Israeli commentator Tammy Gorali after the race, Estrella Galicia 0,0 team boss Emilio Alzamora said that it was Marquez' belief in the Honda project that had made the difference. Alex Marquez had kept faith with the NSF250RW project even at the beginning of the season, when the engine was still badly down on power. Marquez' faith was rewarded when the Honda came good. It was astonishing to see how much progress HRC's engineers had made with the engine in the space of just one year, Alzamora said. Marquez had believed in the project from the beginning, and had taken advantage when the bike began to come good.

So the 2014 season is at an end, all scores settled, and the spoils distributed among the winners. 2015 begins on Monday, after most of the riders have had a lie in to recover from their exertions throughout the year. Alex Marquez and Alex Rins move up to Moto2 to become rivals, Marquez going to Marc VDS and Rins heading to Pons. Jack Miller skips straight to MotoGP, where he will test the production Honda alongside Cal Crutchlow, who will racing a factory RC213V. Karel Abraham and Nicky Hayden will try the new production bike, the RC213V-RS for the first time. And Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro will give the Suzuki a public outing at Valencia. After two years of testing by Randy De Puniet, the bike will be put into the hands of two fast young riders, to see what they can do with it. The GSX-RR still has teething problems, as witnessed by the engine blow ups and gearshift problems which beset the bike all weekend. But we should have a much clearer idea of who is fast and who is not once the test wraps up on Wednesday. There is no rest for the wicked, or for the fast.

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I hope Yamaha can come up with a competitive machine, that the tyres allow for consistent performance and the weather remains as dry as practical.

I wouldnt mind if Rossi won a few races as well.

A potent ally for Marquez when it counted, for sure.

Rins raced hard, led when he could, disrupted his teammate's title challenger, and finally disrupted Kent enough to push him back far enough that he had to make a desperate, last-ditch lunge that pushed him off track and sealed Marquez's championship. Then Rins seemed to truly congratulate his teammate afterward.

'Marquez believed in the Honda' haha. A Name like marquez, a sponsor like repsol, do you really think Alex was going anywhere else ?

Jack rode like a champion without getting the title. A shame, but that's racing. Give me his style of racing over the timid approach of Marquez Jr any day. Marquez rode like a man scared to lose rather than a man wanting to win.

You devote much time complaining about Jack complaining. Ironic. Unfortunately this will only fuel further negative sentiment from people that prefer to discuss what happened off the bike, rather than on it.

And that's the difference between journalism and a fan blog.

As an Aussie I so wanted Miller to win that I would almost give up beer, but saying that Marquez rode scared is just plain wrong.

Marquez learnt from Sepang and did not try to compete with Miller today as he did not need to, all he needed was to keep Miller in sight and he did that very well throughout the race. This race as much as it may pain to say, but Marquez showed immense smarts and maturity in both riding 'safe' so as to avoid the risks that a hand to hand battle would have provided as it is easy to fall when you are concentrating on a rider and not the race.

As for Miller, he did what he had to do and simply, it was not enough on the day but he has shown many what he is capable of and will learn from today

As for Miller's antics (which I have not seen) he is no better or worse than many and personally, if he was not disappointed at the end of this race given what was at stake, than he should not be in the series. His goal was a title, he failed to win that title and so he should be unhappy but there is a big difference between unhappy, disappointed and childish and to me, to not shake a hand when offered is childish irrespective of the reasons.

As Krop says, if anyone thinks these guys are good losers than they really do have to take the rose coloured glasses off as a good loser does not exist at the top level of any sports.

...where this idea that champions have to act like petulant children if they happen to lose came from.

Plenty of champions take losing gracefully. Even when they're only 20 years old.

Look at Rossi's acceptance of second in the MotoGP world championship this year. If anyone has the "right" to act like a d*ck because he finished second despite knowing his talent is equal to anyone's, it's Rossi.

Miller giving Rins the finger during the slowdown lap, saying about the Aragon race "but we won't go there" after bringing it up during a post-race interview--then bringing it up again two minutes later in the same interview, standing on the top step with a big frowny face; the guy sure does add to the circus, I guess.

Nah, champions don't have to behave as Miller did. Some just do. I prefer the ones who don't.

"Look at Rossi's acceptance of second in the MotoGP world championship this year"
Considering his performance for the last few years I think he has every right to be happy... he was never really in contention for the title this year but against Dani & Jorge he's extremely happy with 2nd. With Miller it was down to the last race & in the end there was nothing he could do... & even Rossi's spat the dummy at the end of a race. I'm not defending Miller in any way... truly a dickhead for what happened after the race... but he's in good company.

Seems to me, you don't lose talent, you lose access to it. Rossi's talent has been there since he started racing a billion years ago, he just lost access to it. For a couple of years at Ducati he couldn't access it because of the bike. For a year or so at Yamaha it was because of him and maybe an eensy weensy little bit the bike.

Damn straight he was happy to take second. You really think he didn't want first in the worst possible way?

It must be frustrating as hell to know you're one of a handful--with a couple fingers missing--of people on the planet capable of taking a championship but the universe wouldn't let you. When it happens, you either smile or act like a jerk.

You're right about Miller's company. Mladin, Hannah, Doohan; I prefer Rossi, Marquez, and Bayliss.

Nicely said. I'd re-word it ever so slightly. Especially early in your career, you don't lose talent, you lose access to the ability to use it and display it. Rossi was paid - well - by Ducati to give up his access to a bike that was capable of winning the title (or, turns out, even races). But that's because he did what he had to do early in his career to get onto machines and teams that gave him the ability to demonstrate his talent and win those titles.

How you get access to that winning environment has to do with talent - but a lot, lot more.

I know the background of some of the posters here, and it's funny - the ones who actually are in the industry, people who race, people who've negotiated with sponsors, are the ones who are shaking their heads at Jackass. They've seen this episode of Oprah before, and each of them could give you the name of one or more incredibly talented riders who are today unemployable at the level of professional road racing because of their public images.

Its often easy to forget that the monkeys riding the bikes are as much brands as the monkeys who negotiate for the stickers on the side.

It's sad though to watch some succumb to commodification. The good ones are desired because it's their personality that aids the brand not the brand that bleeds into persona...

Fair and balanced commentary from the author, you could do well to add the same balance to your own comments.
Jack drew inevitable notice to himself by showing his disappointment so obviously in parc ferme.
Don't get me wrong, I love the way he races and was disappointed for him. He was the best racer of the season in Moto3, IMHO. But if he's not prepared to accept defeat graciously, he's in the wrong sport. The eyes are on them 100% of the time.

'But if he's not prepared to accept defeat graciously, he's in the wrong sport'

IMO, whether or not he accepts graciously does not mean he is in the wrong sport as in reality in my experience of watching sports very few times have I seen opponents fail to shake hands at the end of a game or even and so accepting defeat with grace is expected in all sports.

I do however have no issues with disappointment, but I would ask as to if there is history between Rins and Miller that has gone unreported or unseen to the public (aside from that race) as at times, some people simply do not like the other and really, should we demand that they do?

...that Miller's antics add to the spectacle of MotoGP by giving some of us something to focus on, so do Pooch's absurd comments add to the MotoMatters experience.

Questioning your journalistic ability speaks volumes about him.

Welcome to Motomatters, since it appears you are new here

You won't find much support for your obvious negativity as this site is mainly visited by the hardcore fans who tend to see the bigger picture and we tend to try and keep it positive.

David's writing is quite simply why we are here

You'll hopefully grow to appreciate it as we do and contribute comments that are more balanced and much less negative than this one

We understand that when 'your guy' loses that there is the tendency to moan a bit. Let's keep that to a minimum and follow the general good nature of the posts here

Marquez? Who got shunted back to, like, eighth place seventeen billion times in the last two races and managed to fight his way back through the pack only to get shunted back again? Who finished exactly where he needed to in order to win the same championship Miller seemed to have well in hand halfway through the summer? Who held his line in Aragon and went on to finish the race and collect points while Miller ran into him then fell and collected no points (an event about which Miller continues to whine, despite his claims he's not a "little b*tch")?

Marquez seemed to make about three big mistakes every race this year, yet he still managed to finish the season with more points than anyone else. Yeah, he was riding really timidly.

Jackass rode in Moto3 as if he was on a MotoGP machine, catching Vinales who had a massive lead. The kid has absurd talent, but he needs to understand that talent alone is not enough. Cool heads prevail in racing, as Marquez, Rossi, Doohan, Wayne and countless champions have shown time and again.

Biaggi, Gibernau, Lorenzo and Stoner are undoubtedly incredbile champions. Yet the reason they were never the best of the best in overall wins and titles was because of their deeply passionate approach to racing. They allowed the negative emotions resulting from setbacks to overcome their confidence, and as such, entered a downward spiral on many occassions which severely distracted them from riding at their full potential.

At the absolute pinnacle of sports, talent is a necessary but insufficient requirement for victory. One needs to have an incredibly positive and resilient state of mind to overcome any obstacles and ignore all distractions. Nothing is more common than a talented man without the success he deserves.

As much credit as Miller deserves for that ride... him catching Vinales wasn't all down to Miller's pace. It was Vinales that dropped his pace by 5-6 tenths. He also confirmed this in the press conference. For comparison, Miller's laps while chasing after Vinales were still SLOWER than what Efren Vazquez was doing at the exact same time and marginally quicker than Marquez.

Ref : http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/2014/VAL/Moto3/RAC/analysisbyl...

Bike 32 consistently running 1:40's, and in those last five laps he was being chased down pulled off a series of his fastest all race. There was no slowing down but a speeding up.

Bike 8 was capable of high 39's. early and sporadically throughout race, but chose to make things dicey by bunching things up. Then almost when its clearly too late fir all of us watching at home, pulls the pin and absolutely takes off putting in back to back laps 5-6 tenths quicker than the leader, bike 32.

Vasquez pace at end was same as Vinalles, while Miller was on fire closely followed by Marquez.

This shows it better.


I think putting Lorenzo and Stoner in that second bucket is a mistake.
Yes they are both very emotional but they are also both multiple world champs who showed they could handle the pressure from Rossi; not all the time but enough to win a series under direct pressure from the GOAT.

Lorenzo taking on Rossi from within his own team is serious skill and mind management; in years to come people will point to that as one of the major achievements of the modern era.

Your point hammers it home, sustained success boarders on psychopathic delusion. Mind over matter truly exists if you truly believe it exists.

Reminds me of Joey Dunlop, he would meticulously tear down and rebuild his own bikes often making the subtlest of tweaks but when he got to the line he had the psychological 'edge' of knowing his bike inside and out. He truely believe that his bike was better, which made him better.

Then again a bit of insecurity can often be the best form of motivation, but what do I know I'm just a fisherman who don't know nothing... :)

Sorry, but this kid's antics are a disgrace. Flipping the bird during the podium photo, swearing loudly in parc ferme, having nothing to say but blaming Alex for ruining his championship, going off at people during practice and qualifying on track, refusing to shake hands...

He has riding talent, no doubt.

But he's a public embarrassment for Australia and a poor role model for young kids.

He needs to pull his head in.

... but he's in good company. Alex's outburst on the slowing down lap in the last round almost cost him the championship as I'm sure Kent dug extra deep (to the extent of almost falling off) in his attempt to demote Alex to 4th... it was close & Alex is lucky Kent made a mistake. GP racers are a strange breed... I don't think I'd have any as friends.

As David notes, the differences between eras in Gran Prix racing can be vast. For that reason, I believe Marc's career will inevitably be measured against Valentino's.

Their eras will always be comparable--the way Rossi's looking, they're likely to overlap by several years. Neither can be accused of facing weak competition, Vale having battled the likes of Roberts Jr, Capirossi, Giberneau, Biaggi, Stoner, etc. since the beginning of his career. Both won their supporting classes championships en route to entering the premier class at similar ages and immediately proving themselves competitive against the veterans.

Like Marquez, Rossi only failed to win five races in his second premier class season. Rossi repeated the feat in his third, despite transitioning from the last Honda 500 to the RC211V. Will Marc remain competitive after the transitions slated for 2016? Will he demonstrate Rossi's ability to adapt as the likes of Miller, Viñales, and his own little brother start nipping at his heels? These will ultimately be the most relevant questions.

After all, despite never having duplicated some of the records held by the likes of Agostini, Rooney and Doohan, many would readily declare Valentino Rossi the (current) Greatest Rider of All Time.

transitioning from the NSR500 to an RC211V was hopping off an extremely competitive bike to a dominant bike. honda spent BIG on the RC211V and caught the rest of the paddock with their pants down, big time.

And it no doubt worked in Vale's favor that some teams didn't switch to 4 strokes until 2003.

But Tohru Ukawa didn't win 11 races in 2002 and Nicky Hayden didn't stop Rossi from winning his third straight the year after that. Cash and tech may play the biggest role in splitting the grid between the front runners and the also rans, but it won't hand a rider a 69% win rate.

I realize I typed "Rooney" in place of "Rainey". The words "Wayne" and "Doohan" were in too close proximity in my mental queue and the bastard "Rooney" popped out. My humble apologies...

But he has a lot of maturing to do. The Aragon incident was Marquez taking Miller's line while being on the inside. Miller should be quite familiar with the technique as he did it 6 times to Marquez in one race but Marquez knew that trying to fight back while being the outside rider is a losing proposition. For him to say that Marquez knocking him off 3 or so races ago made him lose the title makes me think that Miller is missing the important skill of self-analysis. Then again he is only 20.

On the topic of hating losing and being a sore loser, I'd say that they don't have to go together. I'm sure Rossi hates losing more than anybody on earth but one could never accuse him of being a sore loser. Miller's attitude on the podium was embarrassing but as David said: victories forgive a lot. Titles even more, but maybe in a couple of years.

I wonder if Miller sees the irony (correct usage?) of being on the top step of the podium, having a pout on his face, and wearing a shirt that declares him 'jackass'? Then again, he is only 20 but I wonder how much of a favor his team and management does him when going along with things like the jackass moniker. There are a million ways for it to play wrong and only one for it to play right.


I think Miller started the season as the fastest rider in the class. Then over the course of the season a few of the rest (most noticeably Marquez) matured and found more speed and learned more racecraft. Miller is still as fast, or faster, than anyone but I've seen no improvement in his maturity or racecraft. The elbows and the block passes may work in Moto3 but when he tries that sort of thing on Cal or Dovi or Rossi(!!!) the results will be quite different.

My prediction is: in a couple years Alex Marquez moves to MotoGP as a two time world champion, probably to Honda. Replacing Dani or even his brother if Marc changes factories to prove it's not "just the bike". When Alex does that Jack will still be running at the bottom of the top ten, and it will of course be someone else's fault that he's not winning.

Btw, I started this season as a fan of Miller and his consistent boorish behavior put an end to that by mid-season.

Miller is a hell of a young rider, extremely fast, and big brass ones.
Try to remember his age, and that he was the best rider this year, only to lose the title.
He wanted it, it was obvious. But Marquez punting you is not the reason you lost. Honda spending their money, which they have more of, than anyone else in the world in the form of two wheels is what got Marquez the title. Once that motor got upgraded he had to ride over the limit. That's racing. Many times the best rider loses out through no real fault of their own.
Even with the disappointment and the teenager theatrics I like the kid. Give him some room, he is still a pup.

The Rossi revival? When did he ever stop being Valentino Rossi? Perhaps the revival only belongs in some journalist notebooks.

... of the race weekend and pretty much the season, as usual a pleasure to read. Thanks for bringing us the insights all throughout the year and I am already looking forward to read more feature analysis of technical and rulebook topics during the off-season, hopefully. Can't wait for 2015 to start!

A small thing though, I would like to politely disagree with the implications of the statement that Espargaro the Elder had been punted off two races in a row. Technically this might be true, but the crash in Sepang was his own doing as he later admitted himself (unfortunately only after he first acted on camera and social media like he was again the innocent victim of another rider): "It’s a pity that at Turn 1 on the second lap I went wide under braking and I touched Bautista. I couldn’t control the bike and crashed. I’m really sorry for Alvaro as I have spoiled his race and also mine. Fortunately we are both well."

Milles talent is truly remarkable. The way he recovered the 1.5 seconds that Alex Rins managed to put between the chasing group and Isaac Vinales is so impressive.

Still, a 2nd place is the championship was the most likely outcome, he should not protest and keep wining. Apart from Jack mistakes, which may always happen in such a tough championship, after the first races Honda was the best bike and that made the difference. Honda were always more than making up in straights all that Jack managed to gain in corners.

However, I hope Jack changes his riding style as he gets into MotoGP. Although i liked all his passes and tought they were all within rule limits, the speed and weights of MotoGP require much more care. Any accident can be more dangerous in MotoGP and he should learn to be a bit more cautious and calm. Racing is a lot about mental stenght and not so much about showdowns.

Can not EVER remember so much discussion and interest in Moto 3 or 125's despite it always being the best race on the day. For better or worse Miller has certainly caught the attention of the fans and the journo's. I have no doubt that many of the sponsors of teams in Moto3 have got real value for money this season on the back of Miller and the excellent racing keeping it in the headlines. This can only be good for the sport.

That is true, it's not as if last year's season wasn't epic with the three riders showdown at the last round.
And nobody should be surprised, the guy calls himself jackass after all ;)

Didn't Miller show exactly what kind of spoilt little brat he is yesterday.
Gracious in defeat, NOT, despite his frankly awful tactics ramming Marquez whenever he got a chance.
He really has shown himself up to be no sportsman.
Take a look at Rims, perfect gentlemen, stopped and congratulated his team mate not once but twice, and they're supposed to not get on.
What a difference to Miller.
He should hang his head in shame.

Yes, Doohan/Stoner if he does something in the big class.

But then again, he could be more like Matt Mladin - he was a bit of a brat at 19 (or in his own words, "a smart-arsed prick") when he went to Grand Prix to ride for Cagiva. He he was fast on a good day but couldn't handle the pressure or the team dynamics, and quit GP after a season. Hope Jack's move to MotoGP doesn't go that way...

sums up the Miller business. Seriously I can't believe the mountain that is being made out of this molehill.

More important for me is seeing Bradl, Bautista, Crutchlow waaaaaay down in the cheap-seats of the final standings. And Iannone remains a big disappointment with only flashes of speed........worthy of a Factory ride? I'm struggling to see it.

For all the battles we've seen in Moto3 it still reminds me of 8 year old's playing soccer, a mass scrum, the ball somewhere within, and plenty of indiscriminate hacking, so for some reason it leaves me cold. Maybe it's being repeatedly disappointed at the talent that never quite translates into the bigger classes? I dunno, but it'll be interesting to see how many of 2014's "names" are on our lips and at our fingertips in a few year's time.

I just wanted to say thank you, David, for a great round up and for a wonderful season coverage. There is no better analyst or writer around in this sport. Thank you for your hard work, professionalism, subtlety, attention to detail, and thoroughly enjoyable writing style. Here's to many more years of Motomatters.com !!!!

MCN is just a short click away if you want to take jabs. But taking a jab at David's writing, well, seeing as he's the most respected writer in the Moto GP paddock, your aim is off. We at MotoMatters like to hear what happens off the bike as much as on. As a racer, I know it's off the bike that shapes what happens on it.

David, thanks again for another season of fantastic coverage. I've been on the edge of my seat for months, so thanks for that.


This season has just been amazing...

A young GP phenom defending his first title by breaking even more records, that same phenom being thrown every curveball in the book (rain, bad starts, strong rivals...) and still dominating. All while smiling and laughing his way through. Incredible.

A resurgent legend coming back after 3 difficult years against some of the strongest competition our sport has ever seen. Almost unheard of at this level of sports. And beating his teammate to second in the championship. Seeing him go toe-to-toe with the young breed of riders and beating them all... except one.

A previously dominate rider just absolutely, and uncharacteristically, collapse in the first part of his season. Only to fight back in the second half of the year to almost finish second in the championship, but then melt in the rain again.

A moto3 championship go down to the wire after a season long absolute war on the track! Some of the best and most aggressive racing I personally have ever seen. And the winner of that championship just happens to be the brother of the fastest man on the planet.

Ok, moto2 was a bit of a snoozer at times, but it finished strong. And was won by one of the most likeable, hard working, guys in the paddock. No one would deny he earned that title. True domination from the first race. And HE just happens to be friends and training partners with the two brothers of MotoGP and Moto3.

You couldn't make that sh*t up if you wanted to.

I for one, feel privileged to have witnessed it. I have a feeling we will be looking back on this season in decades time with fond memories.

And thanks to David and the other writers for keeping us informed and at the edge of our seats the whole time!

Kenny Roberts always promoted dirt track training. His camp used xr100s on wet dirt oval. It's nice to see it recognized again.

Even Lorenzo visited the King's dirt track. Did Rossi do dirt track in the past? Stoner & Hayden did it. Which champions did not?

I am kinda glad the season is over, I am sick of Miller crying around about Aragon, when he pulled the same stunt at Mugello. It goes to show his professionalism, or lack there of. I was rooting for him at the beginning of the season, but as his behavior continued to drop, I felt it was time to root for someone professional. I usually dislike Spanish riders, just because they are Spanish, but I ended up finding myself rooting for the Marquez Brothers. I cannot wait to see what Marc has in store for Jack next season!

I liked Rossi's tongue in cheek comment that this was his rookie year; it occurred to me two or three races back that if Rossi HAD only been 'promoted' to the M1 last year he's had a stunning couple of years and you'd have to see him as a serious contender for next years title. But most of us, me included, probably find it hard to quite see that happening, purely because at his age riders are supposed to be on a downward trajectory, not upwards. One thing is for sure, what he's done in these last two years is extraordinary and if he does go on to surprise us even more, he'll have earned all the praise that comes his way.

Well in my universe 2014 panned out a bit differently to that of lanny (earlier post)... what I saw was Marquez get faster throughout the year thanks to the intense work being done by Honda to improve their bike (which was clearly out-gunning the KTMs from around mid season on).

I also saw Miller trying new and previously unseen strategies in almost each race, as he searched for an edge, or to at least keep his bike ahead of the Hondas.

So, there you go : )