Looking Back At 2013 - Rating The Rest: Espargaro And Iannone

After rating the top ten finishers in the championship, it is time to turn our gaze to those outside the top ten worthy of note. Below is a look at the seasons of Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone, in the news in 2013 for very different reasons.

Aleix Espargaro Power Electronics Aspar
Championship position 11th
Score 8/10

Aleix Espargaro became the poster boy for the CRT class in 2012, beating out his teammate Randy De Puniet. The two Aspar riders showed that even with less than a year of development, a slightly modified Superbike could compete with the slower of the satellite prototypes. 2013 saw the Aprilia ART take another step forward, but it was a step only Espargaro could follow, De Puniet complaining of a lack of feeling all year, his performance plummeting.

Espargaro shone in 2013, regularly making it into Q2 under the new two-part qualification system, and even starting from the second row at the Sachsenring and Misano. The race was always a different matter, the underpowered Aprilia no match for the prototypes, and even after the great start he got in German, running in the top three in the first few laps, Espargaro dropped back through the field as the race progressed. Despite his disadvantages, he still bagged a bunch of top tens, consistently finishing ahead of the Ducatis. Espargaro demonstrated that the rider is still a key part of the equation in motorcycle racing.

In the end, Espargaro's success actively worked against him. A clause in his contract with the Aspar team meant that his contract was automatically renewed if he became CRT champion. But as the year progressed, and the factories promised to supply better equipment for 2014, Espargaro was made offers he found too difficult to refuse. The Spaniard forfeited his CRT championship bonus to leave Aspar and head to the Forward team, who will be running Yamaha M1s with FTR bodywork the coming season. After he signed the contract, Aspar announced they would be running Honda's new RCV1000R production racer, a prospect which could have kept Espargaro in the fold. But at the Valencia post-race test, Espargaro was half a second quicker than Nicky Hayden on the Honda, validating his choice to leave. At least, so far...

Andrea Iannone Energy TI Pramac Ducati
Championship position 12th
Score 4/10

In 2011 and 2012, Andrea Iannone was regularly battling for victory in Moto2 with Stefan Bradl and Marc Marquez, taking eight wins in two seasons, and looking like a championship contender. In 2013, the only time Iannone saw his former Moto2 rivals was as he walked past their garages on his way to the Clinica Mobile. Their fortunes were radically different now all three are in MotoGP.

Granted, while Bradl and Marquez race the Honda RC213V, and the other former Moto2 rider Bradley Smith is on the Yamaha M1, Iannone was left to struggle with the Ducati Desmosedici. That he was willing to push as hard as he did was commendable, but his penchant for going beyond the limit would be punished mercilessly in 2013. Iannone crashed often, and when he did crash, he invariably hurt himself. He injured a knee at Jerez, had surgery to cure arm pump after that, then had a huge crash at the Sachsenring in which he damaged his shoulder. That injury effectively ended any hope of being competitive, Iannone lacking strength to manage the troublesome Ducati.

Iannone was widely tipped as a dark horse at at the start of the 2013 season, but the Italian simply failed to live up to expectations. In MotoGP, Iannone found out that courage alone is not enough to compete at the highest level. What he needs to learn from the other two MotoGP rookies is that you need brains as well as guts to succeed in the premier class.

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I think Espagaro deserved to be much higher up the ratings. I'd have put him ahead of both Hayden and Dovi.

He got an 8/10 rate, which is higher than Hayden's and Dovizioso's. He got mentioned after them because of his position in the championship.

Espargaro 9. Hey David, bet you a pint on the Open Yamaha STRETCHING its lead over the Open Honda. I envision a development ceiling on the Honda motor. Watch out for Open Honda for their 2nd gen response to consistently tailing Open Yamaha for a year w more motor easily tailored to new regulations. 2014 is looking GREAT.
P.S. - Poor Iannone. I bet he had some envy for Spies. I used to have a repetitive bad dream that I was running from a sasquach-like beast but I was in sand w impotent heavy feet. It would be WORSE to have a peaky strong engine hurling me into a turn I couldn't initiate! With the whole world watching on TV? NIGHTMARE!
Can you imagine what it would be like to have Gibernau, Melandri, Hayden, Rossi, Hoffman, Spies, et al in one place to watch "Ducati struggling" video and talk it out? UGH.
Anyone ever ridden a well sorted 998 thru pre-Panigale Ducati on the track and felt the handling that is surprised by the weakness of the MotoGP machine on F end feel? Their bikes feel GREAT! They are going to get it right, I just hope soon.

Kills me he's having such a tough time. Makes me miss the days in Moto2 cutting it up with Marquez and Espargaro. Like Mugello, that battle with Marquez was incredible and Iannone really showed his metal

Easy for me to say, but he should probably have stayed in Moto2 for a year until one of the satellite Hondas or Yamahas became available. If there was any rider that needed a sorted bike, it was Iannone. With his temperament, Joe and the Duke was always likely to be a disastrous combo.
You'd have thought Vale would have given him the inside info - perhaps he did - folly of youth and all that. Pity - because he's such an exciting, mercurial rider. Hope he hasn't damaged his future chances.

Ben Spies, as soon as he signed with Ducati I was like, well, that was a nice career! And you're right, same with Ianonne! I figured with his aggressive style it might work, but...
Another year of Moto2 would have definitely helped his odds.
I worry about Iannone and Dovi too. Whats Dovi gonna do now after 2 years of bad results? I don't think Honda or Yamaha are gonna come knocking.
Ducati, the career ender

Aleix's consistency and speed on a CRT mount rated him as a 10/10th rider in my book. Brilliant season from a man holding much promise if he gets a competitive and reliable bike on a team that can go the distance..

Iannone did what anybody who rode that Italian beast before him. And that is, of course, fall under braking. If one analyse the riding style of the Ducati riders they are all riding with a dose of fear especially while approaching a corner. I can't understand how after so many riders complaining and falling of the bike no one in that factory was able to respond!? They have to change that bike radically in order to have some kind of a positive results, other than with Stoner. And for Aleix hats off.

The issue I have with Espagaro has to do with the spec of his bike and the competition he was up against. For a CRT to challenge the protypes is an achievement in itself but there was factory backing to go with it? (No way he aas on the same spec as the other ART riders) Who was he racing in the CRT class and what bikes were they on?

If the last test was anything to go by he might be locking horns with his brother for the better part of next season.

Ianonne we didn't see much from him but we know that he is/was on the same level as Marc and Bradl and we know the situation of Ducati so who was expecting him to do any better or worse against Dovi and Hayden.

Easy answer to your "issue" with Espagaro. The first person you have to beat is your team-mate as he has the same equipment. AE did a much better in that respect against RdP than MM did with DP, or JL did with VR, or AD did with NH. That the CRT class has large variances between teams matters for little, the fact the AE took his "Factory CRT" & stirred up the prototype field, not once or twice but consistently every race meeting is the key point here.

I've heard that as many as three different spec bikes were on the grid. Exactly how many? David any ideas?

DePuniet was supposedly on a lower spec bike than Espagaro.
I would like a post focused on the teams and especially focused on the ARTs.

Repsol Honda and the differences between the satellites rides. ECU programming etc.
Yamaha v. Tech 3