Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 154: The Drama At Jerez

Finally, there is real racing to talk about on the Paddock Pass Podcast, and so Steve English, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett debate everything that happened at the reopening round of MotoGP at Jerez. There is of course the big news of Marc Marquez' injury, the reigning champion breaking his arm. We talk about how it happened, and what it means for the championship.

Then we take a look at all the talking points from the weekend. What does Fabio Quartararo's first win mean for MotoGP? Did Maverick Viñales make the right tire choice? Can Valentino Rossi fix his problems with the rear tire?

We discuss the strength of the Ducatis, whether this is Andrea Dovizioso's best chance to win a MotoGP title, and whether Jack Miller will take points off Dovizioso by winning a race or two. We look at Suzuki's and Aprilia's dismal weekends, and how they happened. And we take a special look at KTM, Pol Espargaro's excellent result, Brad Binder's podiumworthy pace, and whether the KTM is now ready to be a regular podium contender.

We also find time to answer a few listener questions, and look ahead to the next race at Jerez this Sunday.

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JUST PAY THE MAN, DUCATI! STOP CONTINUING TO RECONFIRM THAT DUCATI MANAGEMENT ACTS LIKE ARROGANT JERKS! It's hard not to like Dovizioso. And it's difficult to admire Ducati management for the way they treat their riders.

What I'm most looking forward to at the Andaluscia GP on Sunday is whether or not the rumor is true that MM is going to try and race. Can Binder repeat his pace and become the first KTM rider to bag a dry podium? Was it a technical problem or is the old dog just getting tired? Can Miller win the race? Will motogp start off the 2020 season with back-to-back independent team wins? How tight will the racing be with all that extra data? 

Hope Dovi and his team can wrap their heads around the tires and the worsened turning issues with the Ducati. How many years have we heard the words "Ducati" and "turning issues" in the same sentence?

If memory serves me correct, last years Malaysian race was written up as a grueller. The old guy set a new race lap record and was in the hunt for the podium fighting with Dovi.

the more dangerous it is for him, given his "take no prisoners" mentality. He will not have the strength to recover near-crashes, which means they turn into crashes, which does not do his damaged shoulder any favors.

I think this Covid-19 affected season will have an asterisk beside it anyway. Keeping Marc Marquez off the bike for the longest they can (to have him heal) is actually the best strategy Honda can apply, especially given that they have signed him up for four additional years.

If MM93 crashes again and inflicts season-ending (or heaven forbid, career-ending) injuries upon himself as a result, it will truly be a disaster for Honda.

Brad Binder was a revelation at JerezI, but it is just one race. More information to follow.

For me, one of the big winners was Maverick Viñales . First, that rocket start, then not dropping off the pace as he sometimes does, even after the tire choice, and the eventual podium finish. We'll see if he decides to change tyre choices for JerezII.

As far as Ducati and Dovi, things will not change as long as folks like Claudio Domenicali are in charge. Their rider management skills are questionable (Machiavelli, anyone?), but they're an Italian team, correct? Nuff said.

Japanese riders advancing. It's a different ball game from the 500 days, where the firebreathing 500GP beasts were totally different than 125s and 250s. These days, there is nearly a smooth transition between the three classes, which bodes well for the young Japanese warriors. Not quite the test of adaptation skills we grizzled GP observers might prefer, but great for the sport.

Thanks for the podcast on a very action packed MotoGP race (and a nice shoutout to Brian)! And a nice ending, thanks for pressing stop, David. :)


No asterisks.  No way no how.  Many of Ago's championships (actually most) were 12 races seasons.  No asterisks at all this year providing they do 10 rounds or more. 

The only thing that makes this years calendar unique is not the number of races. Quibbling about whether a certain number races, or whether a certain rider gets injured makes it a valid championship or not is bullshit. What everyone knows in the back of their minds and doesn't want to talk about is that the calendar could change at a moments notice. This was proven in Qatar and what followed for four months. It is not set in stone that their will be 13 races this year. In the past it was rare for a race to be cancelled such as Silverstone 2018 due to weather or Malaysia 2011 due to the tragic fatality of Marco Simoncelli. Everyone knows that there could be a flareup of covid and a few or many races or the whole season could be cancelled. Just as any day could be your last, any race could be the last race of the 2020 Motogp season. This has to be acknowledged. Nobody wants it, but it's a fact. Marc could take two zeros and still come back and put up numbers like last year and cruise to the championship trophy. Do the math. But Marquez wants to race if at all possible. The calendar is uncertain just as nothing in life is. The coronavirus is showing us this. And it reflects back to us our greatest fear. The fear that nothing in life is certain and it's all like a lucid dream. Which in it's own way might be a blessing...

Ducati - while Honda hurts its riders, Ducati crushes their riders' spirit and psyche. Bayliss, Melandri, Stoner, Rossi, Crutchlow - all chewed and spat out by Ducati. Some told to see Sport Psychologists to figure out what is wrong with them!

Vinales - great to see him perform under pressure. I have long thought that he tends to 'choke' under pressure. Good to see him get on with the hole-shot and recover from his mistakes the front tire brought him. Agree 100% that the soft likely sucked MM93 into a pace he hadn't expected. Unrelated, but i also think that Aleix also tends to choke when the pressure is on. Always did great on the CRT by out-riding the bike and performing when expectations were limited. I think he showed signs of his choking when he got to Suzuki and their was pressure. 

Rossi - an admitted 'fan boy' it pains me to watch this and i pray he did indeed have an alarm on his bike and not just merely pull the chute. I was floored when he ceded to Marquez but he had no option. The double-take he did when he saw 93 was something i won't forget. 

MM93 - that save and subsequent recovery will go down as history. While i am not a fan, i hope -and not because i want to see him be beaten like this - that he elects not to race and allows himself to heal properly. That corner is not going away this weekend and he should not risk further and significant injury. 

Binder - i have to pay closer attention to practices to get good eyes on him because 'watching' via the timing screen is unfortunate. I am hoping we see him at the pointy end. 

Dovi- the guy is clinical and ice cold. His ability to learn, manage his race and deal with Ducati management should earn him 'legend' status. With 93's injury, it his chance to step up. People (Puig) will say he is an astericked champ, but i don't see people label Schwantz as such when Rainey went down. 

Fabio - i hope he can learn to do battle as well as being fast as lightnjng. He needs to win in hand-to-hand to really get the monkey off his back. Being called a Motogp race winner must feel amazing. He has earned it though i agree it felt inevitable. A good thing. 

Pol and KTM - it was fun watching Pol fight and Dani is just as valuable today as he was when he was challenging for wins with Honda. Congrats to him and to KTM, a 'thank you' for their commitment to our sport and their success. 

As David says, this is indeed a 'golden age' of racing. 

Fantastic podcast - i enjoy these as much as the races. Thank you to you three for all of your thought and insight. 

He is a phenomenal rider, 125 champion. Incredibly consistent and intelligent. Won many GPs on the Ducati. 

But if you are to compare outright talent, speed and potential, I rate Pedrosa as far superior. Look at the results when they were on the same factory Honda. I won't even mention stoner on that same team, but see below comparison. Another comparison that comes to mind is Iannone. Because he had a few years on the Duc, he could ride it, and I WOULD also rate him above Dovi if he wasn't such a head case. Lastly, once Lorenzo got to grips with the Duc in 2018, he was destroying Dovi until he got hurt. 

I say all this only to opine that Dovi knows this bike inside and out, and while he has produced great results, I give as much credit to Ducati as I do to Dovi. That has been the best bike on the grid on average over the past few years, in my opinion. It suffers at some tracks, but to put Dovi, Petrucci and Iannone in the winners circle and so many podiums (with Miller) speaks volumes. It is in fact very interesting to go back and watch the 2016 races and how frequently Iannone was on pace with or ahead of Dovi, and beat him head to head when it really counted (Austria). 

I love Dovi and his approach to racing, but if it comes down to the championship, I truly believe Lorenzo would have made a much stronger showing in 2H2018 and 2019 if he was healthy. For a true championship challenge, I am hoping they sign Lorenzo for next year rather than just using him as a stalking horse. 

Dovi will not TAKE a championship. He will get it when he has a superior bike and other fortune comes his way, combined with his consistency. Therefore, I understand why Ducati are not keen to overpay him in this environment. That's the way I see it  

Teammmate Comparison from Reddit post in 2018

Pedrosa won 9 races and scored 29 podiums as Dovi teammate. Dovi won just 1 race and scored 11 podiums. Dovi rarely finished ahead of Pedrosa apart from races where Pedrosa was caring injuries.

Stoner trashed Dovi even worse. Stoner won 10 races and scored 16 podiums while Dovi failed to win a single race and scored just 7 podiums as Stoner teammate. Dovi only managed to finish a race ahead of Stoner once (Mugello 2011). Stoner finished ahead of Dovi 14 times of the 15 races that both of them completed.

Dovi was never considered a top rider until 2017. 

edit, forgot this part...

Dovi spent 3 years on a factory Honda and only managed 1 single win. His performance was particularly bad in 2011. Honda was the dominant bike that season winning 13 of 17 races but Dovi only managed 7 podiums and failed to win a single race that season.

I actually thought Rossi pushed a little wide on that corner. Not sure he was wide because  marc was there and was letting him through. Maverick was showing signs of the front tyre  struggling with a couple of wide corners then he rode around it.