2015 Brno MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Foiled Expectations, A Sea Change In The Championship, And The Distractions Of Contracts

There were many things we expected to see on Sunday at Brno. Rain was one of them. Order restored in Moto3 was another. But most of all, we expected to see a scintillating MotoGP race going down to the wire. We saw none of those things, yet the Czech Grand Prix turned out to be one of the most intriguing races of the season. The momentum shifted in Moto3 and MotoGP, and swung even further in Moto2. And apart from a few drops shortly after Moto3 finished, the rain stayed away all day.

Free practice had promised a thrilling MotoGP race, with little to choose between the pace of the top three riders in the championship. Expectations were both raised and dispelled after qualifying, with Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi locking out the front row. Lorenzo on pole was no surprise, nor really was Márquez on the front row. Rossi, though, was an eye opener, and on paper, a mouth-watering prospect. Qualifying has been Rossi's weakness since the system switched to the new qualifying format of two separate Q sessions. Starting from the front row means he doesn't have to fight his way through to the front before he can attack. The last time Rossi had been on the front row was at Assen, and there, he had gone on to win an epic battle with Marc Márquez. Could he pull it off again?

The clues that he would not be able to were there for all to see in the long run data from free practice on Saturday. But the insurmountable obstacle to any hopes of a thrilling race was the man on pole. Jorge Lorenzo had laid down such a withering pace in qualifying to take pole that he looked pretty much untouchable. He destroyed Cal Crutchlow's pole record from 2013 by over half a second, becoming the first motorcycle racer to lap the Brno circuit in under 1'55. His race pace was the strongest of the trio, but the gap looked manageable.

Jorge Lorenzo disagreed. The Spaniard put on another masterclass, firing off the line and into the first corner in the lead. Marc Márquez followed and latched onto Lorenzo's tail for the first seven laps, but then he had to give up the chase. Lorenzo's pace was unrelenting and blisteringly fast, too much for anyone to match. It was an utterly, devastatingly dominant display of superiority. This was Jorge Lorenzo claiming his rightful place as King of Brno, and putting the upstart pretenders in their place.

So why was it not a visually entertaining spectacle? Lorenzo's victories are textbook demolitions of any and all rivals, leaving no room for doubt. His riding is breathtakingly perfect, the pace leaving his rivals first struggling for breath, then begging for mercy. Yet his demolition jobs more closely resemble a clinical and surgical dismemberment, rather than a blood-and-gore slasher movie. The surgeon may possess a level of skill orders of magnitude larger than the psycho in the slasher flick, but it is the gorefest which audiences pack movie theaters to see.

Lorenzo's victory put him level on points with Valentino Rossi, and gave him the championship lead based on having five wins over Rossi's three. More than that, though, Brno felt like a pivotal point in the championship, the race where the odds swung in Lorenzo's favor. Leading the championship for the first time since Qatar 2013, and taking it away from Rossi, who has led the title chase since the first race of the year is an important milestone.

Most of all, though, it was the way in which Lorenzo took the lead. Lorenzo rolled out of pit lane and straight to the top of the timesheets. He was fastest in every session except FP2, and utterly relentless in his pursuit of speed. When Jorge Lorenzo is riding like this – smooth, fluid, precise, controlled – he simply cannot be countered. Marc Márquez, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa can do nothing but stand idly by and try to limit the damage. With Silverstone coming up next – a track Rossi designated as a danger track for him – then Misano, one of Lorenzo's favorites, and the Aragon, Lorenzo could well be taking a comfortable lead into the flyaways. If he does, he will be in a position to start penciling his name on the trophy.

Does that mean that the championship is over? Absolutely not. With seven races still to go and the two Movistar Yamaha riders tied in the standing, it would be insane to claim it was. Yet it is hard to shake the feeling that this was an important result, which will echo far beyond the confines of the Brno circuit. The momentum has shifted, and with the rest of the races due to be run using the standard MotoGP tires – the tires with the edge treatment, made to counteract the effect of the heat-resistant layer added after the debacle at Assen in 2012, and the ones which Jorge Lorenzo prefers – Lorenzo will be able to exploit his ability to carry exceptional lean angles and corner speed, and put himself beyond the reach of the opposition. Lorenzo can be beaten, but it will be anything but easy.

Why couldn't Valentino Rossi stop his teammate at Brno? After the race, Rossi could not find a simple explanation, owning up to simply being slower. Despite starting from the front row, his start had been rather poor, getting swallowed up into the first corner and taking a lap and a half to get up into third, by which time Lorenzo and Márquez were gone. That was not the main reason though. "For sure the start was not fantastic, but more than the start I had no rhythm," he told the press conference. "I wasn't fast enough and for some reason I wasn't able to make the pace of yesterday." They had not changed much on the bike since Saturday, when Rossi had felt very good on the bike and been clearly competitive. But changing grip levels during the race meant he was three or four tenths slower than he expected to be, and was well off the pace. That the problem wasn't the start was evident by the gap Lorenzo opened while Rossi was chasing. When Rossi took over third, he was just 2.6 seconds behind Lorenzo. Twenty laps later, by the end of the race, he was 10.4 seconds behind. The four tenths Rossi lost from Saturday to Sunday were the difference between a podium and fighting with Lorenzo for the win.

Adding to Rossi's woes was the recovery of Marc Márquez. The Repsol Honda man had one difficult session at Brno, where he worried that the RC213V had returned to its nasty old habits. By Friday afternoon, the team had made a big improvement and brought the wayward Honda back under control. From that point Márquez was there or thereabouts, topping FP2 and keeping Lorenzo honest throughout practice and qualifying. In the race he could manage to stay with Lorenzo for the first few laps, but only by taking a lot of risks. At Mugello and Barcelona, Márquez had tried to do the same, and paid the penalty, crashing out of those two races. The return to the 2014 chassis helped reduce the risk of crashing, but perhaps those two crashes also chastened the reigning world champion. At Brno, once he realized that he could keep up with Lorenzo without risking a crash, he let him go, and concentrated on staying ahead of Rossi.

That decision saw Márquez come home safely in second, losing five points to Lorenzo but gaining four on Rossi. He was happy enough with his decision not to push too much, and settle for points. "Tracks will arrive where we are able to win," Márquez said, "but where that is impossible it is correct and smart to finish on the podium." Given that the Repsol Honda rider crashed out at Mugello and Barcelona, that realization seems a little late.

But perhaps his view of the championship is a little different. Going in to Mugello, his deficit to Rossi was 33 points with thirteen races still to go. The 25 points he lost at Mugello meant he arrived at Barcelona 49 points behind, and still plenty of races to make up that deficit. Taking risks there would have put him right back in contention had they paid off, whereas at Brno, there is little reason to risk it all unless you have a realistic chance of the win. Márquez is now 52 points behind both Rossi and Lorenzo, and has all but given up on the title. Better to bring it home in one piece, and keep your powder dry for the next race.

The two Ducatis had a strong race at Brno, both Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso much closer to the front runners than they have been for several races. Though he said he was happy, Iannone lost crucial time to the leaders with a mechanical problem. The variable inlet trumpets were stuck, meaning the bike was down on power and on top speed. Iannone estimated that the malfunction cost him five seconds over the race, which would have put him ahead of Valentino Rossi.

Dovizioso ended up a couple of seconds behind his teammate, having lost out to Dani Pedrosa in the battle for fifth. That was a result he was content with, given the problems he is having with the Ducati Desmosedici GP15. The bike is strong in braking and in corner entry, Dovizioso said, but he was incapable of carrying any speed in the middle of the corner. Try to push to go faster at that point of the turn, and the front would protest, a dangerous game to play. So Dovizioso could hold first Valentino Rossi and later Dani Pedrosa off on the brakes, but they would simply sail by in the corner or on the exit.

Parked between the two Ducatis was the rider of the day, Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard had badly injured his foot in a crash on Saturday, a fall he bore absolutely no blame for. Barely able to walk, Pedrosa had climbed about the Repsol Honda and made a big charge forward through the grid. Starting from ninth on the grid, Pedrosa had tangled with the Pramac Ducatis, being run wide and nearly off the track through Turn 1. But he had fought his way forward, eventually catching Dovizioso, and taking too long to get past him to attack Iannone. That gap was simply too large once he was past.

Despite his heroic effort, Pedrosa labeled his race as being "sh**." He had not been fast enough, regardless of his foot injury. The Spaniard had lacked grip front and rear, as well as having to contend with the pain in his foot. Pedrosa had not wanted to have painkillers injected directly into the foot, fearing the damage that could do. So he had an alternative treatment, and this made a big difference. He already had a little more movement than he had on Saturday, making gear changes a little easier, and the painkillers helped him concentrate a little harder on riding.

The fight through the field saw him catch Andrea Dovizioso towards the end of the race, taking several laps to get past the Ducati. It had been an instructive few laps, though, giving an insight into the problems the Honda had, Pedrosa said. "Unfortunately, I could see many handicaps on our bike, riding behind," Pedrosa explained. "It's hard to make some progress, but we have to try to make the bike a little bit more easy to ride, because we have a lot of wheelie, and it's so hard to keep the wheel down, and then we lose a lot of acceleration."

This was an area which had been holding the Honda back for quite some time. Once upon a time, the Honda was among the fastest starting bikes on the grid, Pedrosa getting the holeshot time after time. Those days are long gone, however, the Honda's tendency to wheelie making it hard to get off the line, Honda riders losing out at the start. This is all part of the Honda's aggressive nature, the physical design of the engine making it want to rev too quickly and not give enough engine braking. With the engine design frozen, HRC will not be able to address this until next year.

The Suzukis had mixed fortunes, Maverick Viñales running in the battle for seventh, while Aleix Espargaro finished ninth after Viñales and Cal Crutchlow crashed out. Despite the crash, Viñales was excited to be in among the Tech 3 boys, less than 20 seconds behind the leaders. It was a sign that all they were missing was horsepower, the Spaniard said, and gave a clear indication to the Suzuki engineers of the area they need to focus. The crash had been entirely his own fault, he said, pushing too hard to try to beat Pol Espargaro. "When I was behind Pol I was thinking do I stay ninth or do I try to get seventh. I decide to try and go seventh." He asked just a little too much of his front tire, and down he went.

His teammate got a top ten finish, exactly the target of the ECSTAR Suzuki team, but Aleix Espargaro was far from happy. He may have finished ninth, but he was over forty seconds behind the leader, and twenty seconds behind his teammate when Viñales crashed. Viñales had reached the level where he had been at the start of the season, Aleix Espargaro said, but since then, he had taken two steps back. The problem was grip in the middle of the corner, from the moment he released the brakes to the point where he opens the throttle. It was impossible to carry the necessary corner speed at that point, Espargaro said, and he was losing time trying to get the bike turned. He had no explanation, and no ideas how to fix it, and was hoping for some dry time during Monday's test. Given the weather forecast, with heavy rain predicted for the entire day, that seemed an idle hope.

The other two races at Brno had plenty to recommend them, and an entirely different effect on the championship. In the Moto2 race, Johann Zarco dominated once again, taking a comfortable victory once it became apparent that Tito Rabat could not follow. Rabat had a good race, but continues to struggle with the 2015 Dunlop tires not giving him the feel his is used to. His title defense is still possible, though Zarco's advantage of 79 points is starting to put him out of reach. If Zarco continues this way, he will wrap up the title before Moto2 heads off to the flyaways.

Behind the battle for the lead, some intriguing developments took place. Alex Rins took third, and could have had second had he been a little closer, confirming the breakthrough year the rookie is having. Speaking of breakthroughs, Brno was the race where reigning Moto3 champion Alex Márquez finally started to come good on his promise. The younger of the Márquez brothers was strong all weekend, and finished a comfortable fourth. So far, Márquez had been shown up by his former teammate Alex Rins, but at Brno, he showed signs of matching Rins' performance. Sam Lowes finished in fifth after an epic fightback from thirteenth on the grid, a positive result from a difficult weekend for the Englishman.

While Zarco was locking down the championship in Moto2, Danny Kent was giving up more of his lead in the Moto3 class. The Moto3 race had been red-flagged after two big crashes on the first lap, which had looked extremely serious, but from which everyone escaped with relatively manageable injuries – broken bones rather than anything much worse, which we feared for a while.

The red flag – and limited TV time – meant that the restarted race was shortened to just 12 laps. That race turned into a frantic dash, and as he and his team had not saved an extra soft tire, Kent found himself having to battle with a large front group on a medium tire. A brief attempt at escaping failed, and Kent dropped further back through the group than he wanted.

Where Kent had failed, Brad Binder tried, but also came up short. Miguel Oliveira also tried pulling away at the front, but he could not manage it either. In the final couple of laps, Niccolo Antonelli pulled a small gap, sufficient to make it hard for anyone to attack him on the run to the line, and Antonelli took his first victory in Moto3, a day after securing his first pole. He was left lost for words at the press conference, saying that he thought his maiden pole was the best day of his life so far, but that experience barely lasted 24 hours. Winning was so much sweeter.

Despite starting from so far down the grid, both Enea Bastianini and Romano Fenati got great starts to propel themselves into the front group. Bastianini rode a brilliant race to finish in second, Fenati ended up in sixth, just ahead of Danny Kent. Bastianini's ride helped him claw back eleven points from Kent, the gap decreasing to just 45 points. In two races now, Kent has given up 21 points, and a title that looked almost in the bag is looking a little more open. Kent will want to reverse this as soon as possible, especially at his home round.

With all the talk this weekend being of Danny Kent being offered a ride in MotoGP, has he been distracted? On Saturday, Kent was adamant this was not the case. "I am focusing on my job here," he said. After Sunday's race, he was a little more honest, as is so often the case with riders once they have little left to hide. "It's obviously been on the back of my mind and at the beginning of the year I wasn't thinking about it," Kent admitted. "I don't have a manager so I'm trying to do that job and talk to all the people. I can't say that it's not a distraction though. In some ways I'd like to make a decision soon but I'm not going to rush it because at the end of the day it's my career and I want to sit down and look at all the options available."

With his home round coming up next, an announcement at Silverstone seems highly likely. Given that OCTO is both the title sponsor of Pramac Ducati, the team interested in Kent, and the title sponsor of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, it is hard to think of a better place for him to announce that he is stepping up to MotoGP with the team. The only danger is that his announcement will be lost in the noise of other announcements, with Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow also likely to announce their futures at their home rounds. Smith and Crutchlow's announcements will be much more low key, of course, as they are likely to tell everyone they are staying where they are. Whether they do or not remains to be seen. We have less than two weeks to wait to find out.

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"After this experience, now I know what to do" - said Marc Marquez after Rossi duffed him up at Assen.

I reckon I know what Marquez meant by that now.

In the last two races Marquez has seemed content to follow and let Lorenzo carve out a lead without trying to overtake, and in the process making sure Rossi can't hope for anything better than 3rd place.

Is he trying to settle scores with Rossi, by making sure Jorge has the best possible chance of winning the championship this year? I think yes.

At Indy, Marquez waited until Rossi was out of the running for 1st or 2nd before he put serious moves on Jorge - helping to ensure that Valentino could not hope for better than 3rd place.

At Brno he also didn't put early attacking moves on Jorge and, although unable to challenge him at the end, Rossi once again ended up behind, and lost points to Jorge.

No question Lorenzo has been very fast but there are moments early in the race when I think Marquez could have taken a stab, but has held back, with two results: he and Lorenzo get to fight it out in clean air, and Rossi misses out on a chance of challenging for first or second place.

In a nutshell I think Marquez, knowing he can't win the title himself, is trying to make sure that Rossi finishes behind Lorenzo wherever possible.

I mean you can't be serious? MM explained after Assen that what he meant was should he ever be in the reverse position (in the lead under attack heading into the last chicane) if there was any contact he was going to drive straight through the gravel because he know knows from Rossi's move that Race direction will not penalize taking that route to win the race.

there could be something in it, I can't believe that Marc didn't try a pass on Jorge yesterday, he was so close on so many occasions-knowing full well that the longer Jorge stayed in front the less chance anyone had of beating him. Jorge has even stated himself he doesn't find his rhythm when he is behind, seems like a pretty straight forward thing to do if you want to beat him, pass early-anyway you can and try to stay there.

I'm sure they all have a new strategy now-particularly as it seems as though Jorges special tires are predominant in the supply for the rest of the season. Rossi may be planning another Laguna Seca 08

I think the Marquez we saw in 2013-14 and at the start of this year would have definately taken ever increasing risks to stay with Lorenzo and go for the win.
From my perspective MM has always taken more risks than the other guys in GP, it just seems to have finally caught up to him a little bit this year.
Even during #93's incredible winning streak last year there were several races where he made pretty big mistakes but due to natural talent/good luck/the design of the tracks these days (hard run off) he just lost a second or so and was still able to go on and take the win.
Now that he's been bitten a few times from mistakes and a machine that isn't exactly to his liking, I think he's matured and reduced the level of risk he's comfortable with during a race, and i think he will accumulate more world titles because of this.

Lorenzo had the pace all weekend. marc knew he couldnt match it so opening a gap to valentino (championship leader) and the rest was the best case scenario.
Man people read into things too much.

that's not his plan. Marquez refered to what to do in wheel to wheel battles.

He definitely wouldn't take any pleasure in allowing his countryman and greatest adversary ever become the first spaniard tripple champion in the premier class.

Rossi will have to dig deep and be on the attack now. Hopefully he'll raise his game at Silverstone.

at first i would deny it but then there may be some truth to it. MM is only 22 years old, but we cant assume he will stay around as long as Rossi has. He obviously wants to topple Rossi in terms of the greatest modern racer with the most championships and If it means conceding one title to Lorenzo, so be it. First Spaniard with three titles? trivial stuff, not many will remember that too much. Though most people i know can name the first spaniard to win a title ( Criville) i doubt we will be making a song and dance about Jorge having three titles. Honda have c*cked up their bike this year, and Yamaha have improved it vastly. All and sundry, including myself thought it would be another MM walkover but look how things change. So yes, maybe he does think it'll be less of a mountain to climb to Rossis tally.

I have to disagree with one of your point/comments - I think a very big deal will be made of a third Lorenzo title, and rightly so. He has put the effort in year after year to get there, I used to not like him much because he was a bit of a knob in his early MotoGP years, but he sorted that and I now think he's close to the most complete motorcycle racer on the planet. The only guys who are in his class are Rossi and Pedrosa. Marquez will either get there, or burn out; I tip the former, but history shows that the latter occurs all too often when it comes to that level of mercurial/genius talent that the likes of Marquez possess.

And I am one of the few to recall the Criville title, but I've been watching GP racing for a while now.

As for Marquez setting out to put a hold on Rossi? Not beyond the realm of imagination. Rossi himself did it to Gibernau, and Marquez is definitely a student of the master/s. And if you were going to mess with the master of the mind game, that's how you'd do it...

if this is the case, i think many people will remember Jorge as the first Spaniard to have 3 tittles. But i also believe that Marc know he has a talent to be the first Spaniard to have 4 tittles, even beat Rossi's record.

"In the last two races Marquez has seemed content to follow and let Lorenzo carve out a lead without trying to overtake, and in the process making sure Rossi can't hope for anything better than 3rd place."

Please don't quit whatever you do as your day-job for a career in psychology!

Honestly, I really don't want to sound rude by saying this, but that is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous and innaccurate comments I have ever read on the comments section of this webpage. It's worthy of a Youtube comment :D

You are not being rude you're spot on. Would have voted 10 if i could. If what they're saying was infact true, why did marquez win indi?

Maybe I am misunderstanding what some of you wrote, but it sounds like you are saying Marquez is working to specifically prevent Rossi from winning???

I won't pretend to have any idea what is going on in Marquez' mind, but my guess is that he doesn't give a damn who wins if it isn't him. He hasn't treated Rossi or Lorenzo differently at all...he tried the same strategy in the last 3 races against both of them. Trail the fastest guy until the time is right to overtake.

At Assen, Rossi played his typical crafty hardball to win and Marquez learned from it, and Marquez has proven time and again that he studies old races and incidents and uses those outcomes to plan his strategy (Laguna Seca, Jerez...). That's what he meant by his statement after Assen. At Indy, Marquez had a pace advantage, albeit smaller than expected against Lorenzo, and passed him relatively easily around the same lap that he attacked Rossi in Assen. Problem with Brno was that he wasn't fast enough to even make a passing attempt...Lorenzo was in another world...so he consolidated his 2nd position against Rossi. If Rossi and Lorenzo were reversed, the outcome would have been the same.

Maybe I misinterpreted what you were saying...

"Yet his demolition jobs more closely resemble a clinical and surgical dismemberment, rather than a blood-and-gore slasher movie."

Enough with the metaphors already! Oy vey.

I disagri.

In a world of sound bites, I really enjoy the extra colour and passion a few extra metaphors provide.

Each to their own.

(Not meaning to offend you by the way, and you may be right about there being too many, but it's a lot better than our usual sound bite world)

How would you describe Lorenzo's ride without the use of metaphors? "Lorenzo rode very quickly today".

A simile is a particular type of metaphor.


Don't get me wrong, I love metaphors. A good metaphor is like a jewel, to be put in a case and admired. Or like a beach ball, to be tossed around from writer to writer. (Though people do tend to mix them up a bit too much, like an overwhipped dessert.) It's just that I find David's favourite axe murderer metaphor a bit too extravagant.

Speaking of metaphors, on the Kiwibiker site today I found this (acknowledgements to James Deuce): "If things are right for Marquez and he can strangle a bike like a 14 year-old throttling a trouser snake, he's unbeatable. But he hasn't quite learned how to turn a deficit into an advantage by making distinct changes in style to compensate. It's balls out, hair on fire and it is brilliant!" Now that's a good use of metaphor. Or simile.

the reference extracted from this piece by David Emmett, of The Surgeon is so appropriate to Mr Lorenzo for so many reasons, I'm sure it must have been previously mentioned.

Go on Jorge, get it stitched onto the ass of your leathers.

I didn't get the reference, but your comment alerted me, thanks :)

Aussies used to joke that Rossi should change his nickname from The Doctor to The Proctologist, because he spent so much of his time looking up Stoner's arse :)

I agree. The Surgeon #99.

IIRC, the race commentators mentioned a Lorenzo nickname of 'the Hammer', which is all wrong, IMO. Marquez? That's a hammer for you. Jorge is all smooth precision, cutting the same line around the track time after time after time.

The nickname "Hammer" or in Spanish "El Martillo" was actually made up by Lorenzo and the team.

It doesn't mean he hits really hard, it's meant to represent the methodical, even, "Bang. Bang. Bang." of a hammer striking an anvil. Like when he cuts the same line/time around the track time after time after time. He talks about his nicknames in the doco "Fastest". Just a heads up.

The nickname "Hammer" or in Spanish "El Martillo" was actually made up by Lorenzo and the team.

It doesn't mean he hits really hard, it's meant to represent the methodical, even, "Bang. Bang. Bang." of a hammer striking an anvil. Like when he cuts the same line/time around the track time after time after time. He talks about his nicknames in the doco "Fastest". Just a heads up.

as someone said this weekend Lorenzo reminds you of Mike Hailwood. so smooth and precise with his lines lap after lap he doesn't appear to be going as fast as the other riders but the stopwatch doesn't lie. noticed he made the medium tires front and rear work the whole race. Kevin Cameron wrote this piece on the race: http://bit.ly/1IX9r7n when the tires are to his style Lorenzo is unstoppable.

He said something like his bike is set up for maximum corner speed, while Rossi's bike is set up for much more aggressive braking, for the battle. That means a marginally softer front for Lorenzo, among other changes. As we've seen, Lorenzo's style - when it is un-troubled - is the fastest way around the track. When it is troubled, he can't win. There is another hidden statistic and that's that Lorenzo has led every lap of every race he's won. To me that's astounding.

I think David or someone commenting here said earlier that Lorenzo is like a time trialist - there is no doubt that a TT style is the fastest, and equally, you can't always ride a TT style in a group setting.

This will be a very exciting end to the championship. What a great year.

what he ment the next time was not misjudge the breaking manoeuvre to ram somebuddy off track and ran off track himself....nothing more

It was a fantastic piece of writing. Made me grin while reading it and absolutely accurate, great work.

IMO Rossi had a 'bad' day on Sunday and I think this was bound to happen. All season long we've seen Rossi struggle FRI-SAT and come up on Sunday with a boost for race day that made him competitive.

As Pedrosa stated last week, improving 0.6-0.7 from WU to Race is out flat impressive.

In a way, I'm glad it happened and now he can get it out of his system now rather than at PI or Valencia.

Rossi's focus should be to get in front of JL99 by turn 1 because as we all know, once Lorenzo is in front he goes in his -zone' and is almost invincible.

Greatest thing that could happen to Rossi is to get into a dogfight with JL99 and beat him to regain confidence, it will be hard for sure but if there's someone who can, we all know it is VR46.

My thoughts on the other racers:

Iannone - still continues to impress. Yes they are 15 seconds behind but still my hat's off to him for being consistant and not 'maniac'

Maverick - have to say I wasn't sure of him at the beggining of the season but he's shown some maturity

Crutchlow - another race another excuse. Like the way he rides but HATE that he always has someone or something to blame for not being competitive

Aleix - meh! Overhyped from the beginning of the season just like his brother

Bradley Smith - too bad he's Yamaha's ugly duck. Like the way he's constantly there and shown maturity, hopefully Yamaha or Tech 3 renews his contract soon

Holy shit, is this really true?

" There is another hidden statistic and that's that Lorenzo has led every lap of every race he's won. To me that's astounding."

that's unreal.

Crazy race to watch. 99 broke 93, and 46 was broken at the start.

Pedrosa is like karl malone. Greatest rider to never win a title because of who else was there when he rode.

Check this out:


Look at the "Laps in First Place" column to see just how crazy it is when comparing laps lead by JL to his closest competitor, more than double the second place guy MM. Earlier this year when he went on his 4 race win streak he broke Casey Stoners old record for most consecutive laps led. Even MM when he went on his 10 race win streak last year did'nt do that.

I know people complain about his Time Trial racing style, but when you have that kind of strength/advantage why the hell would he slow down and put himself in a position where he is not using all of his strengths?

It sounds way more dramatic when you notice that he has led 55% more laps than everyone else on the grid put together.

is the fact that he's only now just tied for the lead in the WC.

Just goes to show how much his special tires mean, like a tap-either on or off.

I just hope the others can get to grips with them better, because currently he has a major advantage every time those tires are available.

The "special" tires are the ones used at almost every race, they are the standard product which Bridgestone brings everywhere, except for a few tracks. Off the top of my head, Mugello, Assen, Sachsenring, Phillip Island, maybe one more track. Worth noting that Lorenzo won at Mugello on the tires without the edge treatment.

The edge treatment was aimed at bringing the tires back to normal, where they were before 2014 when the heat treatment was added at every race track. The idea was to give the tires the feel they had from 2013, with the added safety of the heat layer preventing problems like Assen 2012.

So the question is not why is Lorenzo so good on the tires with the heat treatment, but why can't the rest of the MotoGP field keep up with Lorenzo on the standard Bridgestone tires?

a point which seriously highlights the disparity in the field when equipment changes, even what could be considered small changes, happen. And recovering from this for a rider and/or team, if your style doesn't suite the product provided and when the supply is constrained by regulation- is a monumental task. One which Honda themselves have had to face this season.

Lorenzo, lets face it, has either wiped the field or finished a very distant fifth, fourth or third this season. From what I can gather the only rider complaining about the feel of the 2014 tires was Lorenzo, and his teammate certainly used them fine, and his other main rival-well nothing needs to said here.

So I would say the answer to your question is that the heat treated tires are very suited to Lorenzo's style, moreso than any other rider, and that mostly when the heat treatment is not in place and the tires are more like 2014, he drops like a stone and his rivals thrive. This of course in my opinion, doesn't make Lorenzo a better rider, he just has the right equipment suited to his style, if he was consistently winning or at least in the ballpark for the win (barring Mugello) without the treatment, then one could argue otherwise.
And on the flip side of this, Rossi has adapted and is far more competitive with the treatment than Lorenzo is without-so the championship has become a numbers game and like it or not-many are looking seriously at the tires. So why can't Bridgestone supply both options, or variants of both options always? Of course its cost prohibitive. Once again highlighting the serious flaws of a sole tyre supplier in this series.

Why is it Bridgestone's fault that Rossi is slow on the standard tire? Everyone gets the same equipment, shouldn't Rossi try to be faster on the standard tire? Or should Bridgestone treat some riders differently to others by bringing a special tire for them? Smacks of favouritism to me.

and on the flip side, is it Bridgestone's fault that Jorge is slow on the untreated tyre? Shouldn't Jorge try to be faster on this option? Or should Bridgestone try to provide a more consistent product that doesn't provide such disparity in results? Or do we need more options of tires to improve more bespoke choices for the majority of the competitors and machines in the field?
Otherwise favoritism or considerable advantage will exist, it won't be intentional, but it will exist due to the lack of choice. Did the untreated tyre cause massive issues in 2014? Not that I can remember.

Lorenzo isn't slow on the heat-layered tyre. He scored the most points of any rider after the summer break last year (yes, more than VR and more than MM), when they were still using the tyres that he "hates". There is more than enough evidence that when it comes to raw speed, Lorenzo is in the same ballpark as the fastest riders on the heat-layered tyres. And he's clearly faster than everyone else on the standard tyres.

" There is another hidden statistic and that's that Lorenzo has led every lap of every race he's won. To me that's astounding."

For 2015, yes.

Not *every* race in his career.

..was,leaned up in parc ferme and had a Wild West type 'Wanted' design on it, for 'winning five races in succession' or something very similar. Anybody got any explanation as to what that meant- if he'd won five on the bounce I wouldn't be asking of course....!

According to Nick and Matt, that gag was intended for Assen. If Lorenzo had won there, it would've been five in a row.

Being a touch old fashioned in my belief that riders should prove that they deserve to be on a better bike/team,my vote for who should get promoted to the factory level in 2016 goes to Danilo Petrucci. He's getting top 10 results from a Ducati 14.1 that is well past it's sell-by date, really not far behind the full factory team. When he spent time aboard the woeful CRT bikes near the back of the pack, I didn't think much of his ability. He's proved that I was wrong about that.

When will race direction stop reducing laps for restarts and instead of going back out for full grid procedure they send riders out for warmup/ sighting lap ? I know it can be about TV but the sponsors have already had their exposure from original start they shouldn't hold proceedings up for another 15mins when the track has been okayed for racing. Extremely as spectacor / viewer

Couldn't agree more. The whole palarver with the brolly dollies and having the camera meander it's way from front to back is fine for the first start but why waste that quarter hour when it's just been done? A sighting lap and then the start. In M3 at Brno that could have meant a race only very slightly shortened rather than the 12 lap dash they had.

Race Direction go through the full grid procedure on a race restart to ensure the safe running of the race. Usually, the race has been stopped for an incident. That means that if a rider is down, he has to be transported to the Clinica Mobile, where they assess whether he needs to be flown to a local hospital. If he does need to be, then the helicopter taking him needs to be replaced with another Medevac chopper. The rules state that there must always be 1 helicopter on standby.

In addition, they have to run a full check of the systems again, make sure the track is clear and clean, check for oil spills and clean them up if necessary, check medical supplies at each of the marshal posts, make sure everyone is in position and ready to go again, and then start. That can't be done in 5 minutes. It's all the stuff that goes on in the background which is time consuming and vital. 

I had the pleasure of meeting our man at Silverstone (he was in the same hotel). He is a great guy, clearly has the best interests of the riders safety, race and sport and fans to consider, does a really responsible job and the only time you ever hear about him is when people want to take pot shots. He was actually rather startled that as a fan I even knew who he was!

Worth remembering, as no doubt you fully appreciate David, there are many real talented people putting this show on the road, and it's easy to sit at a keyboard sniping when you don't understand or care about the complete picture.

I'm a 'Mike' fan as well as a bike fan ;-)

Rossi's overtake on the faster-in-a-straight-line Ducati of Dovi with 20 laps to go was a thing of brilliance and a real joy to watch.