Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 152: Even More MotoGP Silly Season Madness

Silly Season in MotoGP just seems to be getting wilder. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Neil Morrison and Steve English get together to discuss the newest round of rumors on who goes where, in both MotoGP and WorldSBK.

Steve and Neil first take a deep dive into the growing rumors that Cal Crutchlow could join Aprilia for 2021. They discuss the situation at Honda, why Crutchlow would leave LCR rather than Takaaki Nakagami, why Crutchlow would consider taking the ride at Aprilia, and what to expect at Aprilia.

They then go on to take another look at the Andrea Dovizioso situation, and Simone Battistella, his manager's, suggestion that the Ducati rider could take a sabbatical in 2021, rather than the pay cut on offer from Ducati. And that leads on to a discussion of the rumors swirling around Jorge Lorenzo, and whether he really is a realistic option for the factory Ducati seat next year.

Steve and Neil then wrap up the show with a discussion of the WorldSBK test currently being held at Barcelona, and what the times there mean for the series once racing returns at Jerez on August 2nd.

If you don't want to miss out on these episodes as they are released, make sure you follow The Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud we even have an RSS feed for you. If you do use Apple Podcasts, please rate the show and leave a review, as this helps other MotoGP fans find it. We now also have a Patreon, where you can support the show financially, and get access to exclusive content, such as rider interviews, debriefs, and more. Enjoy the show!

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Thanks! And you had said #152 was Pre-Jerez.
A few things seem rather straightforward and simple.

Primary point: you folks here, as w eveyone in the public sphere, dramatically under consider the severity, relevance and impact of how catastrophically and negligently bad the front end/chassis problem is for the Honda bike. It is real. Last year Cal was at real risk of harm putting it on the pace. He was forced by it to look at retirement. Don't underappreciate that the Aprilia has nice conventional handling and wants Cal on it. Aleix loves it. This has had something to do with his leaving. Just reliability and outright drag race yet to be seen.

Re Cal, he is both A) on the cusp of retirement, and B) not a potential competitor for Marc. Honda has other priorities. C) He has hated that shite bike for a while so the conventional handling and developing Aprilia has appeal. D) A last push swell is under him.

While it seems to bother people quite a bit, at Ducati A) Dovi plateaued quite a while ago, even though his level is still quite high. B) Duc has a priority to bring a rider in to challenge Marc, and it isn't looking like that is any of their current riders now. C) Trajectories: Jack's is slow up. The others aren't. They managed to secure the kid they wanted and expectations thete are for way up with him. Zarco is an interesting question mark and no risk bargain, no where to go but up. Dovi and Petrucci just aren't a Red priority now and with reason. D) It is very difficult this matter for Red and Dovi, unpleasant. Regardless of which side technically holds what contractual/bargaining power, the water is poisoned, a divorce is underway. It is just the way of things. E) Credit to Dovi for performing so well under such tension and adversity last season. His character, grounding, intelligence/judgement, work ethic and psychological strength are Alien. The opposite of his old teammate Iannone. F) Duc did well in choosing amongst their Andrea, not blinded by talent or flashes. Perhaps this wisdom applies now too. Red has been on the back foot re rider signings, watching rider after rider get crossed off the top of their list as they shook hands elsewhere. G) No need to cue Duc brass demonizing reaction, I agree in spades but re Casey, and that has been a LOOOONG time. H) Jorge is not young, and Yamaha riders aren't currently so compelling unless on Blue, Suzuki or Aprilia. But he is cheap, available, motivated, interesting for now, and a Champion. They can raise their stated expectation with him and he will agree. Actual expectation? It may be rather muted. I) Duc has Martin, and their expectation for the future with him. J) This makes Dovi now the old guy that develops the bike, which he of course is not yet able to find palateable.

Is anyone else increasingly impressed by what KTM has gotten in place structurally and with riders? Iker excepted, from Pedrosa developing, keeping Oliveira, and The Binder. Lovely.

Yamaha won the recent Silly Season. Re-org done. Bike is back. Ready to see the business. Albeit with unmanifested horsepower blemishing center of the visor.

Regardless of the number of commentators, the Paddock Pass Podcast is always very enjoyable. Thanks.

My view is that the drop in the number of wins for Ducati last year is attributed to the entire package and not just the riders. Honda addressed the weakest area of their bike prior to the 2019 season, and Marquez became virtually untouchable. Plus, Ducati has lost a bit of ground to the Yamahas and Suzukis. The tension in the Dovi camp does not bode well for the start of the season. And it has been the same story about this bike since the Stoner days for well over a decade. Even Casey was caught on camera screaming at Gabbarini that the bike "won't turn!" Of course, Gabbarini just turned his back on Stoner and let him stew. And Casey probably went back out and put the bike on pole...

Lorenzo is getting fat like he did before the start of 2014. Can he really summon the fire in the gut to challenge at the front next year if the D/D divorce really goes down? Or are they going to be busy loosening up his leathers so that they fit?

I have newfound respect for Romano Albesiano after listening to him on GPRoundTable. Intelligent guy kinda thrown into the deep end with the Aprilia project. With the addition of Rivola, he can focus on the technical side and he had some interesting things to say about aerodynamics. But then, even he said that riders always have the same gripes: "the bike won't stop, the bike doesn't turn..." 

Crutchlow has no one to blame but himself if he doesn't have a ride next year. There was too much chatter from him about his ankle and wanting to retire. Be careful what you wish for.