Barcelona MotoGP Subscriber Notes: The Crash That Changed The Championship, And Hope For Yamaha Yet

On Saturday night, I wrote that it was impossible to make sense of the times set in practice, to judge who had pace and who didn't, who could be fast for the full length of the race, and who could only be quick for a few laps. There were too many confusing factors: different riders running different tires at different times. Distilling that into a clear picture of what might happen was impossible.

I was right: it turned out to be impossible to predict how the race would turn out. But I was not right because of some great skill in reading between the lines of the timesheets. I was right because of something I had completely overlooked. Sometimes, weird stuff happens and throws everything into disarray. A wildcard, a joker, and any predictions you might have made go right out of the window.

Nobody predicted Jorge Lorenzo would get a fantastic start and lodge himself in the group fighting for the lead. And nobody predicted Jorge Lorenzo would try to outbrake Maverick Viñales, lose the front and a crash. Above all, nobody predicted that when he crashed, he would take out Maverick Viñales, Andrea Dovizioso, and Valentino Rossi as a result, and in doing so, hand his teammate a massive lead in the championship, making Marc Márquez' job much easier for the rest of the season.

Teamwork makes the dream work

When Marc Márquez arrived in Parc Fermé after winning the race by a comfortable margin, he thanked his team and Honda, and expressed his gratitude in the following way: "The whole Repsol Honda team did a really good job during all this weekend." It was a statement made with entirely innocent intent, yet it was all too easy for the hardened cynics in the press room to read it in another way. After all, by taking out Márquez' main opposition in the championship, and creating a gap which Márquez could exploit and extend to win the race with little opposition, Repsol Honda team rider Jorge Lorenzo also did a really good job. For Márquez' title aspirations, perhaps, though it certainly feels like he has killed the championship stone dead.

Márquez now leads Andrea Dovizioso by 37 points after 7 races. Sure, there are still 12 races to go, and a lot of points left to be earned, but the one thing you can't afford to give the reigning champion is a comfortable lead in the championship. The lesson Márquez learned in 2015 was that you win when you can, and settle for as many points as possible when you can't, hoarding points to create an insurmountable lead. That approach has earned him his last three titles, and he looks well on his way to taking a third now.

That lead has now devastated Dovizioso's and Ducati's approach to the championship. "The really bad thing is Marc in this situation is smart, and normally like last year, he races the second rider on the championship. So he will be maybe not on the limit like now and he had to push 100% of the time." That was the strategy they were using to try to force Márquez into a mistake, Dovizioso said. "That is bad. That is what we wanted this season. Before this race, we were there to put him on the limit and everybody can make a mistake."

Pressure release

Márquez acknowledged this vulnerability in the press conference, "Thirty-seven," he corrected a journalist when he suggested Márquez had a lead of thirty-five points. "You never know, these two points. Now it looks like everything is easy, but it's not easy. We are pushing. Today I took a risk. Today I nearly lost the front in turn five. Today I was riding in a good way, but even like this were some riders there that were pushing me."

What happened in the crash? Jorge Lorenzo braked right at the limit, lost the front, and just happened to be on the inside when he went down. His front wheel first clipped the rear of Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati, already close to full lean, spinning the bike away from the Italian. Maverick Viñales was next in the line of fire of Lorenzo's bike – ironically, Viñales almost always struggles at the start, dropping well behind the lead group before finding his pace and coming forward again – and was flipped off his Yamaha.

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Johann Zarco released from his misery/contract would be a good result for all concerned at this point. Another rider I had high hopes for. Alas.

I imagine AM73 could slot in at Reale Avintia in place of Abraham since he may not have the financial backing with Brno no longer on the calendar.

that the Reale Avintia slots are to be potentially taken by a ‘satellite’ Suzuki team run by Gresini. Or did I dream that?!!

Over the weekend during one of the FPs Davide Brivio said 2021 was probably the soonest they could do it since they're too far into the season to start working on it. 

Importantly, pieces are starting to actually move into place.
Suzuki re-org making the racing dept fiscally self directing was important. Some teams WANT the bike. DORNA is wanting it ("every factory will provide 4 bikes"). It has been a matter of scale of personnel, which is $. The results of their project justify it. Their inability to secure a primary sponsor is becoming increasingly...puzzling at best. "Can't seem to get to it" sounds like a kid that doesn't mow the lawn.

The Gresini-Aprilia contract isn't anything one hears about. Fausto obviously knows what he would like to be doing in the class, and has before. Honda in Moto3, Kalex Moto2, and an Energica Ebike - they are far from wedded to Aprilia. Suzuki could use the rider pipeline. And Fausto comes with much to offer financially, he knows the business. He has had solid financial backing that afforded a bike and rider that could win. Match made in heaven.


Bad luck about the big crash, but something else caught my eye. Petrucci on the Ducati reminded me of the bad old days of the Duc, the time between Stoner and Gigi.

The Ducati didn't seem as as fast over the lap / race as the Suzuki or Yamaha, but it was damn near impossible to pass. When the pass finally stuck, Quartararo cleared off, seemingly without much trouble. But the Ducati focus on acceleration, straight line speed and braking ability makes it so hard to pass until the tires are cooked off. 

This is in no way a dig at Petrucci, it's an observation of the slightly cynical way Ducati approaches MotoGP racing. I know, I know, Ducati are not anymore cynical than the other manufacturers, to me it just seems that way. 

Thanks for the great site you run, David.

Been saying that for years. The Ducati is a racing abomination, designed by computer. If I was buying a sport bike, I want one that corners, not blocks. Suzuki or Yamaha for me.

Your race bike be fast where it's easy to pass and slow where it's impossible to pass or vice versa? It bears no relation to street bikes. Ducati street bikes go around corners fast enough that you'll never find their limits on the street. 

All Sport Bike riders/racers
Choose horsepower, or front end feel?
Always front end feel first, then more power.

I won't own a Ducati because it isn't the best feeling bike for the money. There is a reason that the Suzuki and (almost there!) Yamaha are best for rookies. Ask Rabat about the 2015/16 Honda. He was vanquished. Ask all the Tech3 Yamaha riders (2016 was the last bike), way less power and up to speed quickly. With longevity, consistency, relative ease to push. Less focus on sorting them.

The Suzuki is the best Yamaha out there right now.

As WSBK moves a step toward Superstock, look for the 2020 BMW to run well (great chassis, competitive with motor spec already, rideable). This Ducati SBK takes more work to set up from "out of the crate" stock form. Wishing we had a triple Superbike with sizeable displacement from Yamaha, MV Augusta or Triumph, very rideable w less electronics needs.

Love cheering on wee Suzuki in GP!

I've been waiting on the discussion on this site.  Its always at a higher level than the yahoos posting some lesser motorsport sites, so I'm quite eager to read what everyone will have to say.

The conspiracy theories are so ridiculous I'm not going to spend much time on them.  But anyone - ANYONE - who has ever raced a motorcycle can surely agree there is no way to predict the outcome of a crash, especially crashing into other people.  It is a massive risk that can seriously injure or even kill someone.  Its abusrd to think that could be planned intentionally.

Second, about ruining Dovi's championship... For sure, taking him out will have an impact. But the only reason he was in striking distance at all was Marquez's Austin crash.  3rd in Argentina, 4th in Austin, 4th in Jerez, 4th in Mugello, 2nd in Le Mans.... these aren't championship winning results.  He's off the podium as much as he's on it and he hasn't beat Marquez since Qatar.  The only thing Lorenzo gave him was a scapegoat.

That said, Lorenzo is one of the most decorated riders on the grid.  He's got to face a penalty, especially after Vinales was penalized for impeding a qualifying lap.  There was a confluence of factors - that particular corner, Dovi slowing down, etc. - but that has to be penalized at least for optics.  The consequences do matter, and crashing 4 riders just isn't OK, racing incident or no.

Racing incident? Yes.

But what effect did Dovi's suddenly slowing his bike after Marquez passed him have on the whole affair? It was really noticeable on the helicopter shot.

He all but parked his bike setting up for the undercut.

What Dovi did was a reasonable adjustment to the happenings around him. Lorenzo, the rider from the rear, is responsible. He made an error, and is responsible. For a racing incident.

That thoroughly buggered our championship. Somehow Smith taking out A.Espargaro and skittering wee Aprilia is insult to this injury. As a fan of a closely fought season, these take outs were...sad. Depressing. Swap these two around, and Jorge takes out Marquez. Smith takes out Guintoli, Oliveira and Iannone or something like that.

This race was some serious bullsh*t. With a few enjoyable bits. Yamaha had things scooting, Vinales in particular started a race aplomb. Vale was on the move.

The one person that was served by fate well was Quartararo. Congrats to a podium. Rins was sure working for his dinner, and the Suzuki could get on tight lines untouched. That save! Sheesh. A few battles would have been enjoyed more had Jorge not peed in my beer, Petrucci and Rins were a cage fight.

Ah well. Much more still to see. Besides a contested championship.

Not from where I was sat. Too early in the season for Márquez to need any help, as if he needs that anyway. No, Jorge needs a result and soon, and just misjudged it by a fraction. I can’t help feeling a little sorry for him, he finally starts to show some progress, it all goes pear-shaped and now he’s the bad guy again, as if he doesn’t already have enough on his plate. No shortage of talent to take over hot seats these days, and I doubt Honda will be nearly as patient as Ducati. A penalty? No, let it go, racing incident.

...or the never ending struggle between chess masters and crocodiles.

When one of the great Nile Crocodiles is on the hunt, there are multiple factors at play. The first part is what I would call the pure Lizard Brain mode, where it is all about reflexes and strength. A Croc doesn't give a whole lot of thought to what triggers its lethal strike mode; something moves near the waters edge and the the great reptile strikes. If what it latches on to is not what it wants, it releases it. If what it latches on to is an acceptable source of calories, then the poor victim's troubles are over. The success rate of croc hunts is not dependent on what the beast thinks between the time motion is detected and its jaws clamping down...hard. It is all about the quickness, and deep philosophical thoughts only degrade that.

Crocodile experience comes into play (and it is experience, not some scientifically developed hypothesis that matters) in where to position itself along the river's bank for the greatest chance of success. Any judgment is made long before the victim approaches...and after that it is just physics.

And so it has always appeared to me with MotoGP Pilots as well. Numerous studies of athletes in fast moving sports all point to the ages between 20 and 30 as being the peak balance of thought and reflex. Reflexes are strong in a 20 year old, but the thought process may be still in its, well, larval stage. Typically riders get a whole lot smarter every year until they finally hang it up. But this progression is balanced by a slow degradation in reflex speed. Nothing too tragic, as these same sports studies show that reflexes can stay razor sharp until around age 30, with significant exceptions to also include ages 32 to 35. But time and tides wait for no one, and eventually the older pilot finds themselves relying more and more on accumulated wisdom, because the bank account marked "reflexes" is suddenly thirty cents short of a quarter. This is often the (misunderstood) reason why younger riders just get on with it, and simply ride around any troubles a less than perfect motorcycle may present on the track. If the front starts to tuck, their reflexes deal with it. If the back end starts to get out of shape, their reflexes are there to correct this. Older riders...not so much. And paracarros...never.

This may be why the post 30 riders tend to be a little more fussy...and a hell of a lot noisier...about issues with their rides. They have the knowledge to exploit a well behaved motorcycle, often in quantities sufficient to justify David Mamet's saw about "old age and treachery will always defeat youth and exuberance". Of course, if Mr. Mamet threw a leg over a 300 BHP MotoGP bike with both ends sliding, he might be tempted to shade those odds a bit. So the Valentinos (40), the Dovis (36)  the Cals (33), and the Jorges (32) can fight for race wins, and maybe championships, but they need to be on an almost vice-less bike to do so. Whereas you could grid Marquez (26), Rins (23), or Quartararo (20!!) onboard a lamb-chop and have every expectation that they would successfully ride it through a pack of hungry wolves. When we speak of "genius" in a young rider, we are usually talking about those who gain wisdom at an earlier age than one would think possible. Young age and treachery are a combination for which there may be no adequate defense.

My thinking on this crystallized in 2015, and why I saw the failure to win that year's championship as so devastating to Vale. I believe he first saw (in that year's struggle) the ravages of age start to appear in his own crocodile, that his reflexes were no longer enough to beat the others (given even the near-miss quality of his race bike), and that it might be his last best chance. 2016 was, to me at least, the confirmation; it was a year when I thought Rossi was in an even stronger position for  the Championship (than 2015), but too many gravel naps sealed his fate. And those failures were not the result of him losing his mental faculties. Ted Williams didn't stop playing Major League Baseball because he woke up one morning and forgot which end of the bat to hold. No, it was because when his mind shouted "swing, batter" his aging Crocodile's response was "sure thing, mate, just let me finish my cuppa first" the ball found the catcher's mitt.  A good deal (but not all) of Vale's tribulations in 2016 were because what had previously been a save now turned into a ride back to the paddock on a scooter.

While it is very rare these days for Vale to even give a glimpse of his soul, let alone baring it, his actions cannot be so easily disguised. To his everlasting credit he has trained harder (since then) than he ever has, with the aim of preserving what is left of his old croc, and maybe even rejuvenating the great lizard a bit. And he has let it be known that he needs a better bike, where his knowledge is the deciding factor, rather than a slow track-polisher that even the most exuberant youth would struggle with (yes, I am looking at you, Vinales). To beat Rins in Texas Vale needed a better bike. All Rins needed was to have his Crocodile get a glimpse of Vale moving on the riverbank.

So what then to make of the not-so-young Mr Lorenzo? Well, he put himself in a position (trying a sharpish pass at the painfully designed turn ten, which, as Vale so beautifully described, is suited more towards returning a shopping cart to the que than deciding a MotoGP race) where perhaps his wisdom should have said "er, maybe not here, mate". But it also "may" have been salvageable by a younger lizard-brained Jorge, and who among us are the first to recognize the creeping rust of years? And there are just times in a modern MotoGP race where chess-masters have pretty much fuck-all to say about it, and this appeared to be one of those occasions. When you have 3 or 5 or 7 riders all covered by a medium sized quilt, it is lizard brains all the way down. Spaces open and close in the blink of an eye, and you will not prosper with an excess of prudence or lingering thoughts of self-preservation so you can one day cash those pension checks. That is why I agree with the "no penalty" decision. Because, given today's competitiveness at the sharp end of the grid, of course you are going to lunge at that opening, young or old. Don't like that call? Fine, go hang out at the back with Ianonne, where there is plenty of elbow room.

Can the older brigade still win? Absolutely, if they get the bikes they need. Will they get them? Who knows? My heart always hopes the answer is "yes", but there is a nagging other voice that says it is easier to just hire a younger crocodile who will replace flawed engineering sums with reflexes so sharp they can turn the lights off in the hallway and be in bed under the covers before it gets dark. Cheers.

Want to see a world-class example of old-age fueled treachery? Watch how Vale sets up his bike for Assen in the next round. Simon Crafar spotted this with another one of his beautiful observations last year when he noted that Valentino was only talking about "braking stabillity" during the FP rounds. What the wonderful Mr Crafar then pieced together was what Rossi was really focused on...the entrance to the Geert Timmer Bocht, where he subsequently passed people into, through, and out of that chicane (leading onto the Start-Finish straight) all race long. There was no other place on that track, individually (or perhaps even in aggregate), that could have yielded as much advantage for Vale. An old croc selecting the best part of the riverbank indeed. Cheers.

What a great companion piece to Davids'. Wish I could write that well!

great stuff. Great metaphors! The best explanation i have read as to why age can take its toll on a rider. There are of course a few names that could run as a counter-argument to your comment about young(ish) riders not needing inch perfect bikes and not feling a need to be vocal about their bike defficiencies. Most notably from this year alone - A. Espargaro & Zarco. Lorenzo’s preferences are not so much about age as they are his sensitivity. He has always been methodical (pre-race rituals, etc) and precocious; think back over the bridgestone years while on the M1. The heat treated tire destroyed his season once introduced, etc.

Does an older croc need lightning fast reactions when they can anticipate and prepare for problems accordingly?

that said , a great write-up/comment. You got serious game. Please post more often!

^ Love it Jinx. Glad someone has some zip in them after that race.

JL99 was a tad exhuberant and greedy. Not horribly out of line, but noticeably. Good that he is pushing, it bodes well for him. Not a seasoned racer's move, that one was rookie. And happens. Dammit.

Great piece, Jinx.

There's one certainty about MM, and that is he makes his luck. He not only has a racing brain, but like one of the Marvel characters that can absorb a number of key skills which opponents have... and do them all well. He also finds his limits in practice, pushing as far as he dare, but keeping that 5% in reserve. Rossi used to have that 5% over his opponents. The fact that everything in that crash happened after her made his move on Dovi, shows how he made his luck but also benefitted in a way that it's no surprise that the tin-foil-hat brigade really believed it was a conspiracy!! It's amazing that all of your nearest rivals in the championship (save for Rins) all DNF'd. Only a Hollywood movie would think up such a turn of events, and even then only for an underdog, which MM is not. But I do honestly think it was a perfect example of synchronicity taking place after his move: AD running wide and cutting in just as JL barrels in, clipping his rear and falling into MV's trajectory, and amazingly the Honda bounces out of the way and into VR who was also running wide, and not letting go until after several attempts finally succeeds in skittling him too! So weird it could only be an accident.

These things usually happen at the rear of the field with rookies and lower-order riders over pushing bikes to perform. Although it happened last year with JL, AD wiping out a hapless DP.

As to age? Well it's gonna catch up with Rossi, and I agree he can only win races when his bike is perfect or luck is on his side, but Marquez seems to have the lion's share of that right now.

For the sake of an exciting championship, we do need the others to give MM a run for his money. Still many rounds to go....

Mistakes happen, its just that this one had an enormous impact. I was very disappointed that it ruined a potentially excellent race for the win. And of course, the championship is over, unless MM misses races or has DNFs. There was only a slim chance that anyone could keep the pressure on, now there is no pressure, he's won it. But I agree with another poster above, Dovi hasn't really been good enough so far to make the challenge, and no-one else has been anywhere near consistent enough.

JL, well, no point going on about his reaction if he'd been on the receiving end (lets say he'd be very unlikely to be sympathetic), its done and that’s that. I'm sorry he wasn't at the front fighting for a podium, he's a class rider and a good racer too, but one who unfortunately seems to need all the stars aligned. Honda I suspect will not give him the season and a half that he needed at Ducati.

Still, Quatararo looks good, maybe he's the challenger to MM next year, and maybe Rins too. I'm predicting VR will go and his seat will be available, and quite possibly MV will decide to move on, maybe he'll get JR's job!

Hey Nick!
Another take is that Yamaha is coming back good as we speak, albeit needing a horsepower step fwd for next year that I fear is going to be small. Vinales looks happier than he was by far, the Yamaha project changes late last year impressed him. Vale is on his last contract and the speed at which the Yamaha gets speedy now will be important for him. If it sags after a false dawn here, he may "go help them make a proper bike again" in his fantastic new capacity as well as enjoy the beach...he is getting close. His performance/the bike at Catalunya indicates that he has recovered from his disasterous Italian weekend inferno.

Lorenzo is coming good now on the Honda. He isn't costing so many hams. It is good to keep him off of a Suzuki or Yamaha competitor. He is Spanish. He is basically behaving in the important view of Marquez. They will keep him.

Yamaha needs to keep Quartararo, who looks to feel really good in the garage he is in. He will be happy to get the 2020 full fat bike in Aqua and the Factory 2021 Vale seat in his contract pending continued form.

Not much is going silly this year. Everything does next year. Suzuki Jr team seats will be desireable, best bike to start as a newcomer (until Yamaha is back). Rins will be staying put, eyeing the Schwantz role. The second Factory Suzuki seat? That could be someone interesting 2021.

KTM is the bike on the move at the moment, something I did not see coming. Albeit w a long way to go, and on the move cutting the deficit to Suzuki and Yamaha in half, nothing to do with the front yet. Early days. They are trending well.

Ducati. Ducati is the question mark re riders. And Dovi, whom I love, still has a question mark on his back. Which he may still answer himself with a burst of form. Pressure is off. The bike looks great, superbly innovative, and still moving forward. Petrux gets blue collar racer of the MotoGP era honors coming from Superstock big as a chopping block. Eyes are on Bagnaia. For good reason. Italian, fast, on the right bike with an unusually good opportunity pipeline, and arriving now. 2021 he is in Red and challenging wins, maybe more?

The Yamaha is going to do well next round, Maverick figured out braking w a full tank. Vale will be confident. So will Jorge. Dovi will be motivated. Don't rule out Rins battling for a win there - we have good stuff to look fwd to (even w the title halfway button up). Ready to put this one behind us (and when will I finally stop seeing Old Assen in my mind? It has been YEARS!).

Lorenzo - losing the front when confronted with a closing gap that otherwise would have been clear - racing incident.  What would we have been saying if he'd pulled it off, scythed under Marquez in the same place on the next lap, then buggered off into the distance to one of his trademark wins from the front. 


Vinâles - dicking about pulling wheelies on the racing line because he hadn't realised QP was still on - very much a rookie error and well worthy of the grid penalty. Of course he's pissed off he got skittled, and trying to project the blame for his QP brainfart - couldn't possibly his mistake now, could it ...... 

Once again JL failed to take into account that he was not in a time trial. Sometimes I think he doesn't understand the sport. He thinks because he can achieve a certain maximum speed that he has the right to do so at all times. His cut into the racing line nearly killed poor Dani last year. Imo, he had no right to dive from far outside with no thought given to an overtaking rider. And now this .. 

Jinxed again.

I love your comments Sir Jinx.

Embarrassing to read them in public & burst into laughter. I will have to save them to enjoy in private.

Thanks for all the comments.

but what percentage of the victory champagne do we attribute to reflexes? 

Surely it is not simply the speed of the action/reaction but the suitability of the action, the deftness at the controls, the reading of a situation, making the right choices, tyre management, feel, ability to give/apply/interpret feedback etc etc.

Marquez demonstrates his amazing reflexes so often we are becoming blase so he's obviously the ultimate poster boy for reflexes being important.....but he's also a mental step above everyone at the moment.  He is legendary at finding/exceeding the limits in practice, with his research then perfectly applied during the race.  

And weren't we just talking about him stalking his rivals in practice/qualifying?  He smashes out a fast lap early on, basically tethering a goat to a post, then lies in wait like a predator in the undergrowth, sizing up the competition.  If he spots a struggling/desperate rival then he takes full advantage as they are forced to drag him round to an even better time.  No-one does it better.  Marquez and Stoner are the only 2 riders that come to mind who have an on/off switch on time attack mode, where everyone else has a volume control that have to ramp up.

So I can't help thinking reflexes are one of those things: you don't need to be the best, you just need to be good enough, with so many other attritibutes required to fill the champagne bottle.

Lorenzo?  I thought it was extremely enlightening that he made absolutely no mention of Dovi in Simon Crafar's brilliant snatch and grab initial interview (hats off to Lorenzo for fronting at that).  As much as it looked ominous to have Dovi close the line I think Lorenzo was gone for all money regardless.  A "race winning" lunge on lap 2 with cold tyres?  No reflexes were going to save the position he put himself in. 

It's a shame for us but many of the greats have done something similar, with Doohan's effort at the '93 British Grand Prix a shocker, taking out Schwantz and Barros in what was looking like a battle royale for the title......only 2 races later Rainey suffered his terrible accident, which was a helluva way to put things in perspective. 

Bottom line after last weekend? They all walked away and the sun will come up tomorrow. 

Ok... so yes, that really sucked, that what was shaping up to being (coulda/shoulda) a very interesting and competitive race amongst Marcquez, Dovi, Rossi, Vinales, Lorenzo, Petrucci, and Rins, instead turned into another "Marquez show" with the only battle (as has too often been the case) being for 2nd and 3rd places. 

Yes I am an armchair "expert" so this is simply my opinion, but having watched the 1st 2 laps several times on the motogp website from ALL the angles they have available for subcribers, I have reached the following conclusions... Jorge DID make a mistake by tucking the front, but their were extenuating circumstances, and in my opinion he was not doing anything crazy or reckless...he was just trying to shadow Marquez and do everything Marquez was doing. Marquez meanwhile, I felt, was being a bit reckless himself, at times, but as he is marquez, he didn't lose control. Maybe thats the difference to him and everyone else at the moment.

I found that by watching it completely in "helicoptor mode" it was very helpful in highlighting this. From what I saw on helicopter view, Marquez himself  "almost" caused 3 accidents on lap 1 alone through his own "enthusiasm"...

1st on the exit of turn 3,  he was so determined to not let Fabio through that he held the throttle open too long and arrived at turn 4 way too hot, almost running into the back of Dovi at the apex. (Jorge, by the way, followed his line from a few bikes back, and also went in too hot at turn 4).

2nd, on the exit of turn 4, After running wide on the entrance, Marquez rejoined the racing line by harshly cutting across the nose of young Quatararo on the exit, which made fabio sit up, and which in turn caused Quatararo/Rossi/Petrux to have to close the throttle. This allowed Jorge to pass all 3 riders on the way into turn 5, and set up the racing order for the lap 2 disaster.

And 3rdly, at turn 10 of the 1st lap, Marquez again almost ran into the back of the bike in front of him (this time vinales), at the apex as he ran in too hot again. 

In the first lap, it looked like everytime Marquez made a pass, Jorge would follow, 3or 4 riders back, a tactic that was working very well until "one trick pony" Dovi parked his bike in the middle of corner 10 on lap 2, on a different line, in an effort to do his patented "undercut move". This has been Dovi's signature (and sadly, only) move on Marquez in the last 2 years, along with slowing the race down to "manage the tires". Its understandable that he would try his "go-to move"; it has certainly been effective in the last 2 years, as the honda would tend to spin or wheelie on exit while the Duc would just drive away. But this move only seems to be effective when in a 1 vs 1 situation, not in a group of riders due to the "strange" line Dovi takes compared to the other riders when he does it. It is really obvious from the helicoptor. Not Dovis fault, for the crash, as he in 2nd place, but not very wise (IMO) considering he was in a pack of 6 and was on lap 2. Dovi sees that Honda and Marc have "solved" his only strategy with a faster bike this year and so now he is looking a bit desperate. He doesnt have "alien" talent and his "one move" doesnt work this year... in the last 2 years he has just been onboard, a rolling roadblock with great acceleration and he has used that to great effect. I think Dovis 15 min of fame are now done, unless Ducati can come up with a new strategy. I dont see him challenging marquez any more, and even see him fading as the season progresses, with Petrucci taking up the torch this year instead. 

Anyways lets hope Assen can throw up a few surprises, because without a marquez mistake, a 37 pt lead is too big to pressure him into making a mistake now, although yes anything can happen. But as Dovi correctly said...marquez now only has to race #2 in the championship, and not 4 or 5 riders every weekend so he doesnt have to be taking big risks anymore, which might have pressured him into a mistake. Bummer for the fans, but smart of him. Cheers



Just asking - given that Assen is coming up and this has by now dropped to page 2 of the site, will there still be a non-subscriber race report on Barcelona, or is it the intent to only have subscriber-accessible reports from now on?