Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 125: The 2019 Season In Review

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Steve English, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett get together to take a look back at the 2019 season in both MotoGP and WorldSBK. We kick off the show with the three of us each running down our top five riders of the year, David and Neil looking at MotoGP, Steve giving his top five from WorldSBK.

We move on to talk about our highlights of the season. We each pick the best moment of the year, something which stuck in our minds from the 2019 season, and we also discuss what was the best event of the year, and why.

Steve decides to have a bit of fun, asking us all what our best Christmas gift was, and what our families expect us to be arrested for one day. And we finish off as usual with the winners and losers of the year.

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Late comment, been busy.
Rider of the year? Going Quarty - especially given the brand new Aqua Jr team, and Yamaha not giving the weaponry needed to do the business.
Contrast the Dovi-Ducati journey which seems to be sitting still. Does Duc have a "turning issue" still, or has it gotten to a level where we use a new phrase? Or, do they basically have a Marc issue like the rest of the grid? Re-Marc-able season again, of course. Any criticism of him rings hollow. Vinales is back. Yamaha is back. Suzuki and Ducati did not nake that next step.

It is interesting and complex the Red rider situation. Most of us love and respect Dovi, for good reason. He worked very hard, very intelligent, great strategy. Pulled himself up by the bootstraps. But Ducati will have some fresh turned soil by necessity re riders. As good as Dovi is, it isn't the level of performance with this bike that is expected. There needs to be a rider of great promise aboard the Factory bike. The two top spots allow a rider to reach a potential, and encourage another to push at it from below. Dovi has plateaued. They do not need a Pedrosa bridesmaid, unless he is at Pramac developing the bike. The same can be said for Cal. Unfortunately many riders reach a time that they are to be pruned for new growth. Usually Dovi would be a prize for another manufacturer with a slightly less competitive bike, but now it is fresh faces that will get seats. He will not want to go to Pramac, and there just isn't much for a place to go. Tough situation. Consider also that Ducati have three riders now that have all been podium contenders. None are looking like a Quartararo, or even Vinales. Age is an issue, as is career trajectory as extended forth next season or two. They need a standout Astronaut to Alien rider yesterday. The blue collar hard work of a very human Dovi or Crutchlow is not what they seek, it is a phenom. Jack is still young and moving forward. Bagnaia looks to have half an eye on a different bike, and perhaps with reason re goodness of fit. Petrucci is done. The script has either a Quartararo (doubt it), Vinales (maybe?), Binder, or some other such rider jumping on their bike and doing the business from the get go. One such possibility by the way, is none other than Zarco. He is in prime contention for one of the four 2021 Ducati full fat bikes. Miller looks well set. The other two are going to be a surprise.
Youth - not just Quarty scooping the Yamaha project forward. Mir catching Rins too. The handful of KTM kids catching Pol. And Ducati is next.

Lorenzo to Yamaha Test! It looks to be a go. The Japanese Test riders are joining the Euro program, and continuing to do some donkey work at home. Yamaha are at a critical mass tipping point. If the motor isn't there sufficiently in 2020, I could see Vinales go to Ducati...he needs to get his show on the road now.

Just as Lorenzo brought opening stage race pace to a new level, and Marc made FP full tilt, Test rider capability looks to be on the move. Dani has been showing big development value to the Orange project. Are we entering a new norm? Is a Pirro, Smith or even 2019 Guintoli sufficient now? Will there be increased pressure on Test team pace?

Loser - with Iannone now out for steroid use atop his shite season, and the manner with which he has conducted himself, he seems inarguable. Sad to miss him in WSBK, and to have witnessed the slow moving seagull smash of a career and tossed off talent.

Winner - yes, Marc, but that was expected (damn that Honda 2019 engine!). I pick Quartararo, Aqua, and the Yamaha project. Bonus mention, the Triumph milled Moto2 bikes, another winner for 2019.
One last thought, hoping for some reader commentary/discussion this Winter. For instance, David, Yamaha didn't just "stop trying to fix the bike and let Vinales ride it." They DID fix the bike, via a very focused prioritized effort with the electronics (and new staff) plus engine delivery. Tires made it to the end of a race, then spinning up was tamed.

Steve, are you sure the Kawi wasn't the best bike on the grid? The temperamental Duc wasn't so easy to set up, and Red DNA perhaps shared w the GP machine seems to be inconsistency from track to track and to a lesser extent varied conditions. The Green machine did everything really well, nicely balanced.

GREAT Podcast yet again. Thanks Steve, Neil, and especially David. The whole year of Motomatters has been wonderful, and you are REALLY appreciated.