Assen MotoGP Preview: Northern European Weather Set To Upset The MotoGP Apple Cart

We are past the mathematical midway mark of the 2022 MotoGP season, and we are on the brink of the de facto midway mark. This weekend's race at Assen is the last before the long summer break – longer than originally planned, and a welcome break for pretty much everyone in the paddock. "I'm not going to touch a motorbike for two weeks!" Remy Gardner told us.

At least we are going into the summer break on a high. The Dutch TT Circuit at Assen is still one of the greatest motorcycling circuits in the world, despite the trackectomy which happened in 2005 and the old North Loop was removed. The fast, sweeping section was removed to sell the land and buoy up the circuit's ailing finances, and replaced with a little crochet hook of tarmac. But the rest of the circuit remained, the Southern Loop as glorious as ever.

After braking for the first corner and sweeping through the sequence of right handers that take them through to the Strubben hairpin, the riders fire out of Strubben and down the Veenslang, the snaking straight which leads to the first fast right-left combination and prime over taking spot. Through the Ruskenhoek and onto the Stekkenwal, then another short, snaking straight down to De Bult. A fast left, and then onto one of the best sequences of turns on the MotoGP calendar.

A crescendo of corners

Back to top

Tight Travel Schedule Forces Program Change For Japanese Grand Prix At Motegi

As the MotoGP calendar expands, the logistical challenges of running an increasing number of back-to-back rounds are starting to have an impact. The triple header starting at Aragon, then proceeding to Motegi, then finishing at Buriram in Thailand was always going to be the hardest one, because of the distances to be traveled, and finally, Dorna and IRTA have had to admit defeat. Practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi has been rescheduled, with just a single session on Friday, starting at 1:15pm, and no track action in the morning.

The new schedule will see Moto3 start at 1:15pm local time, with the normal 40 minute FP1 session. The 40-minute Moto2 FP1 follows at 2:10pm, and at 3:05pm, MotoGP will have 75 minutes on track for FP1. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday. Progress to Q2 will be determined by the combined times set during FP1 on Friday and FP2 on Saturday.

Back to top

The Transformation Of Maverick Viñales: How The Pandemic, Marriage, And Aprilia Rekindled His Love Of Racing

Maverick Viñales has always been something of an enigma. While his talent was beyond doubt, it was also mercurial, the Spaniard winning one week before riding around anonymously the next. When he had the tools he needed, he was unstoppable, winning 9 MotoGP races with both Suzuki and Yamaha. But if he didn't, he would struggle, go backward and end up frustrated and angry.

Throughout the period Viñales was at Yamaha, in the period when rider media debriefs were held in team hospitality units making it impossible to attend all of them, the small group of journalists I share debriefs with would draw straws for who would have to go to speak to Maverick Viñales. That was usually a depressing experience, sitting through Viñales' simmering frustration at not getting the results he believed he was capable of.

It was no surprise this would all come to a head, though I don't think anyone imagined it would end in such a dramatic fashion. Maverick Viñales was suspended by Yamaha after he stalled the bike on the grid in Austria, then in frustration, rode around overrevving it. A few days later, it was announced the contract Viñales had with Yamaha had been terminated with immediate effect, by mutual consent.

Back to top

Toprak Razgatlioglu Has First Test On A MotoGP Bike - But Will He Stay In WorldSBK?

Toprak Razgatlioglu has completed his first laps on a MotoGP bike. At the Motorland Aragon circuit, the Pata Yamaha rider and reigning WorldSBK champion had 40 laps on the Yamaha M1 MotoGP machine, accompanying Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow at a private test.

When the test was first announced, it seemed like this may be a dress rehearsal for a full-time switch to MotoGP for the Turkish rider. But Razgatlioglu has been equivocal about a move to MotoGP. He has made it clear that he is very happy in WorldSBK, and was only willing to come to MotoGP if the circumstances were right.

Back to top

Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 284: Quartararo Rules The Ring - But Is Yamaha's Approach More Dangerous Than Ducati's?

In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Adam Wheeler, David Emmett, and from a hotel room in Amsterdam, Neil Morrison discuss what happened at a scorching Sachsenring. Fabio Quartararo's victory raised a lot of questions after the German Grand Prix. Not least, whether Yamaha's approach, of putting all their eggs in one basket, is better than Ducati's, which involves making a bike which lots of riders can ride, and hoping you have a rider which can bring it home.

That leads to a wide-ranging discussion of what is going wrong with Ducati's approach, and with Quartararo's rivals. Why do they keep making mistakes, where he doesn't? Is there something wrong with Ducati's rider choice? And which of their riders could mount a serious challenge from the start of the season to the end.

Back to top

Sachsenring MotoGP Subscriber Notes: Why The Sachsenring Was 2022 Condensed, Ride-Height Failures, Hot Hondas, And Events vs Races

With the Sachsenring done and dusted, we have reached the halfway point of the 2022 season. A quick dash from the east of Germany to the northeast of The Netherlands, and then MotoGP goes on a longer than scheduled summer break.

If the German Grand Prix marked the halfway point of the 2022 season – the median, if you will – then the result might be classified in statistical terms as the mode: the most frequently occurring value in a set of results. If you had to sum up the MotoGP season so far, this is what it would look like.

I have a long motorcycle journey on Monday, so below are a few quick notes after the German GP, and what precisely makes it the modal MotoGP race. But also, some of the factors which make it atypical. And a sign of hope for the future of the series.

In these notes:

Back to top

Pages

Subscribe to MotoMatters.com | Kropotkin Thinks  RSS