2013 Sachsenring MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Three Races With A Big Impact On The Championship

The Sachsenring is a key point on the MotoGP calendar. For the Moto2 and Moto3 riders, it is the last race before the summer break, while the MotoGP men have one more race, at Laguna Seca, before heading off for an all too brief summer hiatus. A good result in Moto2 and Moto3 is crucial, as it determines the momentum you carry into the summer: you either spend the next five weeks brooding over what could have been, or on a high and wishing the next race was the next weekend. Momentum is not quite such an issue for the MotoGP riders, but a bad result puts them on the back foot ahead of Laguna Seca, and their own summer break. As it is often also contract time, especially in MotoGP, the pressure is on to perform and secure a seat for next season. Good results and championship points are vital, as this race can help determine the course of the remainder of the season.

The significance of the Sachsenring was visible in all three races on Sunday, for wildly different reasons and with wildly differing outcomes. In Moto3, the top 3 riders merely underline once again that they are a cut above the rest - or at least the rest of those who are also riding a KTM. In Moto2, Pol Espargaro gained important momentum in his title challenge, but failed to drive home his advantage, swinging the balance of power slowly back his way, but not as fast or as powerfully as he had hoped, while Scott Redding struggled badly, salvaging points only thanks to Espargaro's finish. As for MotoGP, the absence of the two championship leaders has blown the title race wide open again, allowing Marc Marquez to take the lead, and both Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi got closer to being back in contention again.

The Moto3 race turned into a thriller, but the typical three-way thriller we see almost every week. Alex Rins, Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales are clearly the cream of the KTM crop, and have dominated at every race so far. Luis Salom has had the upper hand in recent encounters, the oldest of the three contenders - at nearly 22 years of age, he almost qualifies as an old man in Moto3 - using his experience and racecraft to gain the upper hand. At Mugello, Barcelona and Assen, Salom bided his time until the last few laps, before trying to pull the pin and break his opponents. It worked for three races in a row, but in Germany, Salom's run of luck faltered. Salom pulled the pin once again in the last few laps, but Alex Rins hunted him down and passed him at the bottom of the hill, going on to take his second win this season. With Viñales left in third, Salom's cushion became fractionally more comfortable, extending out to 14 points, while Rins got to within 30 points of the championship leader.

Waiting until the final laps and then mounting a charge was a strategy he tried every race, Salom said, and sometimes it worked, but this time it hadn't. Rins has been close to disrupting Salom's plans at a number of races, this time he attacked in time to do something about Salom.

The only blot on the leading trio's copybook is one left there by Honda (or KTM, depending upon your perspective). The Honda Moto3 engine is clearly massively underpowered, and yet they either cannot or will not do anything about it. Honda claim this is because KTM are breaching the spirit of the regulations, having built a factory-supported prototype racer, rather than the production racer which HRC has produced, while KTM say they are complying perfectly with the regulations as set out by the FIM. The Honda's lack of power just goes to underline even more what an outstanding job Jack Miller is doing on the FTR Honda, getting in among the KTMs until they blast him away with their superior power.

In Moto2, Scott Redding had a bad day which turned out to be not too bad, while Pol Espargaro had a good day which turned out to be not as good as he had hoped. Espargaro led the race for a long time, getting away off the line and soon pulling a gap, along with Jordi Torres and Simone Corsi. Espargaro seemed to be in complete control in the early stages, but as the race went on, it became more and more obvious that Torres would not be denied. The Mapfre Aspar rider was on a mission, and went on to claim his first ever victory in Moto2, which was also his first ever podium. Torres' description of his joy at the win brought out the poetry which a non-native speaker can sometimes accidentally produce, the Spaniard saying in press conference he was 'too much happy'.

Espargaro also let Simone Corsi get by on the last lap, as the Italian was starting to push hard. Espargaro's rear tire was completely shot - there may have been much complaining about the Bridgestone tires this weekend, but the Dunlops caused their fair share of accidents as well - and he had no choice but to cede the position. In the press conference, Espargaro let slip once again just how focused he was on his rival Scott Redding, saying the most important thing was that he had once again closed the gap to the British rider. After Mugello, Espargaro's deficit to Redding was 47 points. He has halved that now, to just 23 points.

Redding, for his part, suffered with the same tire problems which Espargaro had, and could only hang on to 7th. His problems were alleviated by Espargaro's, for while Redding himself had no chance of competing, by pacing himself and coming home in 7th, he at least salvaged 9 points. With Espargaro ending up in third, he lost on 7 points to the Spaniard. At the halfway stage, it looked like Redding might lose 16 points to Espargaro. The Moto2 championship is clearly still wide open. With nine rounds to go, there is everything to play for.

The MotoGP race may not have provided the sheer entertainment of the Moto3 and, to a lesser extent, Moto2 races, there was still plenty of tension. The absence of both Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo helped. Lorenzo's pace looked crushing on Friday, right up to the moment when he crashed, and Pedrosa, as the rider who had won the last three races at the Sachsenring, was favorite to take victory at the track.

The other three-time winner made it four in a row on Sunday, Marc Marquez riding a stunning race to take four consecutive victories in three different classes. The Spaniard had made up ground after an indifferent start, first edging an impressive Aleix Espargaro aside to take over third, and then hunting down both Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl. Two identical maneuvers, barging past at the final corner, saw the Italian and the German dispatched, and Marquez in the lead and off to the races.

He could not relax, however. After a poor start - which Cal Crutchlow jokingly put down to Marquez, having forced him wide at the first corner and caused him to lose several places - the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha worked his way forward to start to chase Marquez. He arrived in second position on lap 16, but by then, Marquez had a nearly three second advantage. Though Crutchlow was closing, he wasn't closing fast enough, and Marquez could manage the gap to the Tech 3 man. "Crutchlow is quite strong at the end of the race," Marquez told reporters,"I didn't want a repeat of Assen, so I tried to push for a fast five laps and manage the gap, and then manage the distance."

Two wins, seven podium spots in total, three pole positions, five times setter of the fastest race lap, and championship leader, all in his first eight races. Marquez' talent is now totally beyond dispute. The myth that Marquez was winning in Moto2 only because of the bike he was on has now been thoroughly dispelled. Coming in to MotoGP and being immediately competitive is the mark of just how good the Spaniard is.

If Marquez has been fast from the off, Cal Crutchlow has taken a different path, but ended up in more or less the same place. Crutchlow had a mediocre first year in MotoGP, a strong second year in the class, and is now clearly just as fast as anyone in the series. He closed in on Marquez at the end of the race, but was never close enough to actually challenge.

Where Crutchlow has struggled in previous races has been at the start, the Englishman complaining that he couldn't brake properly with a full tank of fuel. That situation had now be resolved, he said after the race, leaving him able to brake where everyone else brakes and follow their line. If it hadn't been for that kid Marquez - Crutchlow was clearly joking when he said that - who had pulled across Crutchlow's line at the start, forcing him wide and losing a number of places, the race could have had a lot more battle in it than it ended up having. "I really believe we made a step in this area," Crutchlow told the press. If that is true, then Crutchlow becomes a permanent podium threat, and a candidate for victory.

That Crutchlow was even racing was testament to his mental and physical fortitude. After his big crash on Friday, Crutchlow had woken up on Saturday feeling sick with the pain. "If you had asked me, or especially Lucy, on Saturday morning, I definitely wouldn't be racing," Crutchlow said after taking 2nd position. His decision to rough it out paid off very handsomely.

The most high-profile loser in all of this is Valentino Rossi, despite being back on the podium again this week. He and his team had tried something on Sunday morning to help him go faster, but that tweak had not worked out. Rossi lost some of his feeling in braking, leaving him struggling a little bit more than usual. This poor set up had Rossi distracted, the Italian mumbling to himself during the press conference. Despite his cheery demeanor - and Rossi knows how to put on a show, joking quite a lot in the podium press conference - he was clearly angry at either himself or his crew for giving him a set up which would not work. The front end tweak made by Yamaha has paid off for Rossi, and Yamaha both.

But perhaps the biggest loser of the day was Stefan Bradl. After a fantastic start to the race, leading for several laps, to the delight of the crowd, Bradl was soon passed by Rossi. No dishonor in that, but behind Rossi came Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow, leaving Bradl to circulate on his own. A fourth place is the German's best finish, matching his position at the Italian grand prix at Mugello. Whether that means Bradl could be out of favor with HRC, and therefore out of a job at the end of the year remains to be seen. Honda have an option to allow him a second year at Lucio Cecchinello's LCR Honda team, but they have not yet exercised it. A podium would have cemented the deal for him, but unfortunately, he fell just short.

The support classes are all packed up and are ready to be shipped to Indianapolis, ready for the next round. The MotoGP teams had their work cut out for them, packing up as quickly as possible on Sunday night in order to be ready to be flown to Laguna Seca. One more week of frantic dash, before everyone gets to breathe a sigh of relief.

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What does this guy have to do to get half the recognition he deserves ?
Barely a mention ouch !!

and just a hugely gutsy effort from Cal, very impressive given his injuries.
I could go on - Marky Mark was brilliant, but I'm sure others will comment sufficiently.

He has softer tires that work well in the first 3-5 laps. If he was on the same tire doing that. It'd be something to talk about. Once the advantage of the tire was gone. He fell to his spot. Nothing special in this race vs any other. A good ride no doubt but nothing to write home about.

Those early laps were so cool, with Espargaro pushing hard in third place and fighting off Marquez! Too bad he dropped back a bit more than I had hoped/expected. Laguna Seca should be good for the Aprilia as well, he must be looking forward to that! Big cheers to him.
Any details on what exactly the spec is of his current RSV4 engine? I'm hearing stories about pneumatic valve springs coming up, but also heard commentators talking about the heads having finger cam followers instead of the standard buckets. Seems like a rather complicated conversion as just a temporary solution to me. And what about the gear train camshaft drive kit they have used in Superbikes? I guess that is allowed then as well? (It definitely should be.)

I feel sorry for Aleix Espargaro. Despite his good performances on a CRT machine on a regular basis and also beating Randy De Puniet who is on a similar machine,also on a regular basis, Espargaro does not seem to be attracting the attention of any talent scouts of bigger teams or factory teams. A state of affairs that seems rather strange, unless of course, the teams and the factories know something about him that we are not privy to.

I felt sad that Crutchlow again ended up being the nearly guy. I was hoping that he would take his maiden win in MotoGP but his botched up start and his inability to come through the field fast enough to get close to Marc Marquez cost him the win which could have been possible.

I am a little surprised at the KTM and Honda spat in the Moto3. Why is Honda accusing KTM of providing full factory support. Is there anything in the bylaws that states that such a thing is unsporting? If David or anyone else can throw some light on this it will be nice.

"I am a little surprised at the KTM and Honda spat in the Moto3. Why is Honda accusing KTM of providing full factory support. Is there anything in the bylaws that states that such a thing is unsporting? If David or anyone else can throw some light on this it will be nice."

Well Honda also has a beef with the ART bikes in the same vein, having suggested that they are less CRT and more factory prototype... my guess is that in both cases the respective manufacturers are exploiting the rules to the nth degree, which is about right for this sport :)

Moto 3 was supposed to be the class where factories would allow individual teams to field reasonably-priced bikes. Hence the spec electronics, etc. Honda bought into that and provide a spec racer for the class.

Freed of the expense of racing in MotoGP or Moto2, KTM has sunk a massive (by Moto3 standards) fortune into what is supposed to be a class for riders, not factories and tuners. Completely legal by the letter of the law, completely against the spirit of the law.

Proving once again two rules of racing:
- There is no such thing as the spirit of the rules - there are just the rules.
- The budget will be spent, regardless of how much you try to legislate lower costs.

Honestly, I admire Honda for its support of the lower classes on the grid. Moto3, Moto2, the EJC - Honda puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to racing.

That's why, when I went out to buy a new bike a month ago, I picked - yep ...

45 seconds behind the winner and 15 behind Espargaro on a CRT-bike! OMG!

That must be extremely embarrassing for Ducati, and Nicky!

But since Valention left Ducati nobody seems to care...

"The myth that Marquez was winning in Moto2 only because of the bike he was on has now been thoroughly dispelled."

I'm surely gonna get bashed for this, but that sentence made me giggle. Come on, David. On this very site it has been said repeatedly that there are currently only four bikes in MotoGP capable of winning and Marquez sits on one of them. This weekend only two of them actually lined up on the grid. Yes, it is clear he is fast, but with the current bike situation in MotoGP, a sentence like that to me sounds more like a sarcastic statement than anything else.

Now please proceed to downvote me.

I couldn't disagree more with your comment. What does Marquez have to do to prove his talent? He's leading the championship after 8 rounds of his ROOKIE season!

As Cal said the other day, a rider like Marquez comes along every 15 years, you had Rossi and now you have Marquez.

Who else could do as good a job as him?

This win came in a completely different fashion than his last. He did it from the front. He set the pace and then managed it. Something very hard to do. Good bike or not.

Sure, very hard to do on a good bike, impossible to do on anything less than that

I am slightly disappointed nobody else sees the semantic humour in that sentence, trying to disprove an alleged machinery superiority in one class with a factual machinery superiority in another class. My comment didn't even have anything to do with Marquez himself... I will just keep giggling to myself then.

maybe I'll be the one looking silly after this but I also agree with your first statement. He had the best bike and the best support in Moto2 (and was allowed to get away with very brash riding) and as said he is on 1 of the 4 bikes capable of winning AND they changed the rookie rule just for him!
Talented? Obviously
Once in a generation talented? More than likely
I don't know, I just don't think you can discount some of the advantages he's had. What would it be like now if Cal was on the factory Yam or if Marquez had to ride the Duc?
I know, none of that is relevant, but whatever, down vote it

I agree as well. I do rate Marc Marquez incredibly highly, but to say he has squashed accusations that he only won in Moto2 because he was on the best bike in the paddock by winning in MotoGP while on the best bike in the paddock is silly.

I broadly agree with the view that he's simply gone from top Moto2 bike to top MotoGP bike and so 'should' be performing, but let's not overlook the simple fact that to ride the highest performing racebike on the planet the way he does requires an enormous amount of talent and self-confidence... rather than having the bike tweaked to make it faster than all the other bikes in the field. Which is pretty much what DE is inferring in his comment.

Personally, I don't buy the argument that there are only four bikes on the grid that can win a MotoGP race. I would say there are either six or seven, depending on how you view Bradley Smith's Tech 3 bike. Bautista's Honda is handicapped with the Showa suspension and Nissin brakes. Good enough for a podium, but hard to win on.

In Moto2, Marquez was accused of only winning because of the bike. His detractors said there were other riders just as talented on the grid. In MotoGP - his first year of MotoGP, in which he has two wins and a mess of podiums - he is up against the undisputed best riders in the world. He has already beaten Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo fair and square, both separately and together, and on Sunday, he beat Rossi and Crutchlow again. Yes, the Honda is at least as good as the Yamaha. But look at who is riding them.

Bradl needs another year to show his true potential like Cal has recently. Bradl is NO Marquez... Bradl and everyone else already knows this so they should not be compared on track. Bradl doesn't have the team/experience that MM93 inherited when Stoner left the paddock. Bradl will get there... HRC should give him another year. Now Alvaro??? Alvaro should be moved to the production-racer and let Aleix Espargaro get on the his bike. As said before, Aleix deserves more credit and a factory ride with HRC.

I rate RdP very highly and was hoping to see him return to a Honda satellite for one season last year. And Aleix is routinely outperforming him!

But, sadly, resources are not unlimited and so economics comes into play: there are not enough vacant seats for interest in Aleix to count, it seems.

Still, I used him as an example the other day to a friend asking for career advice. Do the best that you can all the time and somebody (hopefully) will notice. Aleix, currently, is the archetype for showing what you've got even if the pony underneath isn't quite up to spec.

What I would like to know is what is the real difference between Cal's bike and Valentino's?

Because the British commentators are always going on and on about how Cal has an inferior bike, but the Yamaha guys say they are basically identical. Cal is just as fast as Rossi on the straight, and out of the corners, so it seems to me they are the same. Perhaps Yamaha factory bikes get updates sooner, but there haven't been any significant updates this year.

Last year, the Tech 3 Yamahas were also very strong with Cal and Dovi. But, the Satellite Hondas haven't been challenging at the front for two years.

However, Simoncelli was fighting for podiums in 2011, and Stoner was fighting for a win at a couple of races on an LCR Honda in 2006. Is this an issue with the riders or the bikes? Are the Honda satellites farther away from their factory cousins than the Yamaha satellites are from theirs?

The commentators on Eurosport mentioned that the bike Cal rides is essentialy the same bike that Lorenzo won the championship with last year, so I would not say it is inferior if that is the case. The fuel tank seems to be the biggest difference.

Said that Cal's bike is pretty much current (2013) factory spec and that Cal should stop complaining.

"basically identical" and "essentialy the same". Seems as though there need to be qualifications which imply that they are not, in fact, identical or the same. Every difference presumably helps something at least somewhat somehow (otherwise, why bother to make new parts for VR and JL or new machines for 2013).

I'd have to suspect that the factory doesn't actually share what all of the differences are with the press (or, for that matter, the riders).

The commentators on motogp feed indicated the tank issue had been solved for, so sounds about even.
Also, Cal recently tested the new chasis the factory team was on and stated he did not prefer it. So as far as the chasis goes, it confirms what JL and VR stated earlier - that not all updates are good updates.

Cal's "factory" hang-ups seem to me at this point to consist of titles on paperwork and contracts and found on the chip on his shoulder.

everyone needs motivation-and Cal continues to use this anger at being slighted to continually get better.

I love watching him dispatch the SBK-riders-can't-compete-in-this-championship-myth. It just makes me think he is mentally stronger than those before him that have failed to adapt to MGP.
Can't wait to see him stand on the top step.

... with this result - which, in real time and in the absence of the injured Pedrosa and Lorenzo, equates to fourth (behind injured MotoGP & Sachsenring 'rookie' Marquez).

Crutchlow described his Assen effort as "too little, too late", and MCN's Birt used the exact same phrase in his Sachsenring report about 28-year old Crutchlow two weeks later.

With not one, but two of the 'heavy-hitters' out injured and Rossi in set-up trouble, this was to be Crutchlow's best ever chance of a MotoGP victory.

But, despite having the best equipment, he didn't have the speed, ability or class to capitalise - he let it slip.

Still, congratulations to rookie Marc Marquez - a broken toe and finger, pole position, fastest lap and very comfortable race win after leading from the front.

Sheer class.

Speaking of class, Dovi's 15 second demolition of hapless Hayden is also worthy of note.


I believe Marquez controled the race ... im quite sure 1.21.9 would not have been a problem if he had to.

But you're right, with Lorenzo and Pedrosa out, it was the first really good opportunity to win for Cal...

Laguna suits well the Yamaha, Pedrosa and Lorenzo are a question mark, maybe Crutchlow...

"Marquez' talent is now totally beyond dispute. The myth that Marquez was winning in Moto2 only because of the bike he was on has now been thoroughly dispelled"

Hahaha what is he ridding now??? LCR? Gresini? put him on the satellite or ART then we talk! Sorry David... I have to disagree.

Credit should go to Alex ESPARGARO! (y) I'm here to read about him... found myself totally disappointed! Give this man a proper Motogp bike!

This seems to have been completely missed by several people who are critical of Cal's 'inability' to catch and pass the phenomenal Marc Marquez.

There are more factors being played out in a MotoGP race to make simply being able to analyse the apparent loss of a couple of hundredths of a second over a few laps with any accuracy almost impossible.

Cal is a rider who has never had the benefit of the Spanish riding school and their seemingly infinite resources. He has come through a more difficult route and is getting better with every race.

Gonna have to agree with you Max. And also to what you said, there is the Honda V4 and how it powers out of corners compared to Yamaha. There was one section of the track where it had a clear advantage. And with more engines and a slight Hp advantage it's only going to get harder for Cal at the slightly favored Honda tracks from here on out.

And if Pedrosa was 100% at this race I would have bet a thousand pounds on him winning at this circuit. More Honda days to come.

To see a proper victory wheelie for a change. Can't remember last time I saw a Motogp bike with its front wheel raised any more than a quarter of an inch!

Can't wait to see how Mighty Mouse MM tackles Laguna, but I might just have fiver on Cal for that first win, I think he just has the edge over VR at the moment and I don't think DP will be 100% on such a physical circuit so soon after injuring himself. Just keep yourself out of the medical centre in FP and QP Cal because those Hondas will still be tough to beat.

Is the true hero here. All in front of him and some behind are on factory prototypes. Crutchlow's bike is good enough to win. He said so right here in MotoMatters in that excellent interview David ran. Perhaps some MM readers have the attention span of a gnat.

But Aleix Espargaro is doing sensationally well on the Aprilia, which is clearly down on power but which seems to handle pretty well, and he is not lobbing it into the outfield like a few others. Perhaps less horsepower is the ideal traction control...

This Espargaro has had a fairly quiet time in GPs since getting onto a 125 in 2004. No podiums, let alone race wins. He has just quietly worked away. In 2009 he was 18th in the MotoGP points table on a Pramac Ducati (16 points). Since then it has been like this:

2010 14th MotoGP Championship (Pramac Ducati) 65 points
2011 12th Moto2 Championship (Pons Kalex) 76 points
2012 12th MotoGP Championship (Power Electronics ART) 74 points

His best placing last year was 9th at Laguna Seca

This year he is running 10th in the championship and has 52 points, which means he is averaging 6.5 points per race. Last year his average was 4.111 points/race.

It appears he has a good handle on the Aprilia chassis set-up and Aprilia is getting more power from the engine but it is still a modified production engine racing purposed-built race bikes. At Qatar Espargaro was giving away 20 km/h to the fastest bikes; at Mugello the ART machines were around 16 km/h down on speed and at Catalunya they were 18 km/h down. At Assen, which now only has shortish straights, they were 13 km/h down and at Sachsenring 12 km/h behind.

If they could halve that speed deficit, things could get very interesting, not to say down right embarrassing for some...

Forze Aprilia!

"Aprilia is getting more power from the engine but it is still a modified production engine racing purposed-built race bikes. "

I find it funny in a rather ironic way that when the RSV-4 first appeared in WSBk all the other riders were bleating that it was basically a MotoGP engine dressed up as a road bike and should be banned or restricted!

How times change - great ride from Espargaro but he also now has magnesium cases, modified primary gears and who knows what other trickery over the other ARTs ridden by RdP and others. The line between CRT and prototype is getting very blurry, or maybe that's from the tears welling up in Ducati's eyes. Ouch.

I thought it was funny that other teams were complaining about the Aprilia RSV4 when it first appeared in Superbikes in 2009. Just because it looked like a MotoGP bike, it should be banned..? Pfff. Aprilia designed the RSV4 starting with a clean sheet of paper, and looked at what design would make the best possible sports motorcycle. So yes, they surely must have looked at what was being used in MotoGP. Seems completely logical to me.

And then they built it and people could buy it in the shops for a reasonable price, like the cheaper Ducati versions. Very nice for all of us consumers, I would say, exactly what sports riders want. Innovation and the latest in technology.

Ducati on the other hand (who complained) always races very special, expensive R versions that cost almost twice what the Aprilia RSV4 costs. Fine by me, because it's cool that it is possible to buy such high-spec bikes. At least for some better funded enthousiasts it is.

And what about the BMW S1000RR? When they raced it in 2009 you could not even buy them yet. Still nobody complained about them (probably because they were not that fast yet then).

I've ridden the RSV4 and it is a brilliant bike. Of all sports bikes you can buy, the RSV4 comes closest to riding a real MotoGP bike (of which I have ridden a few some years ago), including the soundtrack. Big cheers to Aprilia for making this machine. And cool to see an upgraded version riding in the front group in MotoGP...

+1 on your analysis of the genesis of the RSV4. I never understood the criticism that the RSV4 was a cheater bike in WSBK; it is an amazing streetbike and canyon bike, it met the rules, and it is priced competitively with other European Superbikes. I love that motorcycle.

Having said that, the similarities between the RSV4 in my local showroom and the bike Aleix is riding are probably sticker-deep ... :)

Let's be honest... the similarities between the RSV4 in your local showroom and those being raced in World Superbike are no deeper than the sticker either...

I have to agree with Espargaro being one of the great stories of the race. That dude is riding that motorcycle to the very maximum edge of it's ability. With him doing as well as he has, it puts pressure on those with superior machinery, (any Honda or Yamaha). Yet, here he is. Pushing.

I do not think David missed mentioning him, because there heavier stuff to really look at in the race. Lorenzo and Pedrosa being out was a HUGE thing. Marquez already looking like a champion. Riding like a seasoned veteran. I do not think too many people had him leading the championship or riding with so few faults and lack of the borderline aggression that he had been known for. Still say, this is Pedrosa's last chance to be champion. If he does not win this year....it will prove Honda wasted money and efforts betting on him and shitting on the one person who did become World Champion, Hayden. Yes Pedrosa is light years ahead in talent, but it is one thing to have the potential, and actually go out and accomplish it. From what I see Marquez has the potential and the single minded focus to accomplish. Pedrosa has the potential, but kills himself off.

Cal.....what can I say. The dude jacks himself up in crash, gets up the next day and gets the job done. Yes he had a bad start, but in this case, the person who won was right in front of him for the first lap. So he could have still won. Just not his time yet. I think he will get a win if he keeps up in the same fashion.

Rossi. Beginning to think he is just as tired of explaining why he did not win as I am of hearing why he did not. Totally selfish reasons why I think he should be doing better, but he has amazed me for too many years for me to just accept he is not the Rossi he used to be. Won't believe it yet, keeping the faith!