MotoGP 2018

Round 13 – Misano

With Boris Mihailovic

There was an understandably sour taste in the beer-flavoured mouths of British MotoGP fans after the Silverstone Round was cancelled.

But it was indisputably the correct call by Race Direction, especially seeing as Rabat will take some time learning to walk again after fielding Morbidelli’s bike with his legs.

MotoGP Silverstone Cancelled F
Silverstone MotoGP 2018

You just can’t race bikes on a circuit that won’t drain its standing water, no matter how many beers the spectators have drunk or how long they’ve sat waiting in the rain.

So when the circus arrived in Misano, the championship points table was unchanged, and the clowns who’d resurfaced Silverstone were threatening journos like Mat Oxley with legal action for calling them out on their shoddy workmanship.

MotoGP Misano Vinales GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

What was also unchanged was the open hostility Rossi carries for Marquez. Social media was ablaze with sniffling outrage when Rossi refused to shake Marquez’s hand during a pre-race press conference.

MotoGP Misano Pre Conf

Of course, this incident was entirely confected by a journo who wondered, in a dumb question, if Rossi would extend the hand of sportsmanship to Marquez. Marquez, the eternal ingénue playing for the cameras, duly extended his hand.

Rossi, not remotely interested in playing for those same cameras, crossed his arms and refused the handshake, saying that he does not need to shake hands with the young Spaniard and that things were “OK” between them as far as he was concerned.

MotoGP Misano Rossi GP AN
Valentino Rossi – MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Cue shrieks of “bad sportsmanship” from the peanut gallery. Heh. I tend not to shake hands with people I dislike, and I would view it as an act of rank hypocrisy if I did. If I don’t like you, I sure as shit ain’t shaking your hand – sportsmanship be damned.

How quickly we forget both the history these two have and how Rossi is unlikely to be manipulated by a journo looking to score some kind of point.

MotoGP Misano ParcFerme GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Of course, because he hates being ignored and he’s walking with a swagger again, Lorenzo added his two-cents to the issue and declared them both to be “children”, as if he had always had the moral high ground in past handbag battles.

Jorge was still strutting after Qualifying, having blazed his way to pole on a track where Ducatis don’t normally sail well.

MotoGP Misano Lorenzo GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Surprisingly, Jack Miller had also qualified well, and found himself in second, followed by a hopeful Vinales, Dovizioso, Marquez, Crutchlow and a grim-mouthed Rossi back in seventh.

It seemed like Yamaha had found “something” between Silverstone and Misano. Vinales was at the pointy end, and Rossi was not all that far back – less than half a second from Lorenzo. But as the temperatures went up on race day, it would take a lot more than Misano’s traditional sea of yellow to will The Doctor onto his home podium.

MotoGP Misano GPstart GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

The Yamahas just don’t work well in the heat. It’s been that way all season, prompting an unimaginable apology from the factory to its riders a few weeks ago.

The race start was all Lorenzo. If he’s on pole, he’s almost impossible to beat to the first turn. Jack was on his tail and Marquez in hot pursuit. But Dovizioso was in hotter pursuit and was in second by the start of Lap Two. So hot was this pursuit, Jack Miller excused himself into the gravel before Lap Two, and the great chess-game began.

MotoGP Misano Dovi GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Clearly inspired by Lorenzo’s recent declaration that he was “boring”, Andrea Dovzioso bored his way into the lead, and set about leaving his team-mate and Marquez in his wake. It was a stunning demonstration of how to control a race from the front – and one that Lorenzo himself had done on many occasions.

But it is processional to watch, and the nature of Misano – a track of two halves; the first half tight and technical, the second a crazed speed-fest – does throw up races like these.

MotoGP Misano Marquez GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

So as Dovi eked his lead out to almost two seconds, Marquez and Lorenzo felt it was time to see whose pee was landing higher up the tree. It was about halfway through the race and Jorge was very full of berries.

Marquez slammed past him in Turn 14, George slammed back two corners later, rinse and repeat. This, of course, allowed Crutchlow, riding a lonely fourth, to creep a little closer and for his heart to glow with hope.

MotoGP Misano Crutchlow GP AN Cover
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Nine laps from the end, Lorenzo once again passed Marquez, but was unable to shake him as the leading three came up on the hapless Christoff Ponsson, Rabat’s replacement, and the first rider I’ve seen lapped in MotoGP for quite a while.

The last four laps saw Marc and Jorge creep up on Dovi, reducing his lead to 1.3 seconds. But that was it. Dovi saw his pit board and began to re-apply himself, as his team-mate helpfully ploughed himself off the track two laps from the end, gifting Marquez with second and Crutchlow with third.

MotoGP Misano Crutchlow GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

A wild-eyed Rins came home in fourth, 14 seconds behind the winner, and trailed by Vinales, Pedrosa and Rossi – all very processional and well-mannered.

This has changed the complexion of the championship table. Marquez’s lead appears to be insurmountable at this stage of the season. Dovizioso is 67 points behind and only three points ahead of Rossi. While Lorenzo’s recent return to form puts him in a threatening fourth with 130 points.

MotoGP Misano Dovi GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN

Aragon is next, and I’m pretty sure Lorenzo will be feral with intent. As will his “boring” team-mate. And who knows? Yamaha may even find a little something else, because while the Doctor may not win his tenth title this year, he does so like making the Spaniards look ordinary at home. But that young Marquez is so very far from ordinary.

MotoGP Misano Marquez GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN
2018 MotoGP Misano Race Results
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1  Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 42’05.426
2  Marc Marquez Honda 2.822
3  Cal Crutchlow Honda 7.269
4  Alex Rins Suzuki 14.687
5  Maverick Viñales Yamaha 16.016
6  Dani Pedrosa Honda 17.408
7  Valentino Rossi Yamaha 19.086
8  Andrea Iannone Suzuki 21.804
9  Alvaro Bautista Ducati 23.919
10  Johann Zarco Yamaha 27.559
11  Danilo Petrucci Ducati 30.698
12  Franco Morbidelli Honda 32.941
13  Takaaki Nakagami Honda 33.461
14  Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 35.686
15  Michele Pirro Ducati 35.812
16  Bradley Smith KTM 46.500
17  Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 46.614
18  Jack Miller Ducati 50.593
19  Hafizh Syahrin Yamaha 55.168
20  Karel Abraham Ducati 1’02.255
21  Scott Redding Aprilia 1’09.475
22  Thomas Luthi Honda 1’12.608
23  Christophe Ponsson Ducati 1 Lap
Ret  Stefan Bradl Honda 10 Laps
Ret  Pol Espargaro KTM 10 Laps
Ret Xaier Simeon Ducati 25 Laps
MotoGP Misano GPpod GP AN
MotoGP 2018 Misano – Image by AJRN
MotoGP Championship Standings
Pos Driver Team Points
1. Marquez Marc Repsol Honda Team 221
2. Dovizioso Andrea Ducati Team 154
3. Rossi Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 151
4. Lorenzo Jorge Ducati Team 130
5. Vinales Maverick Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 124
6. Crutchlow Cal LCR Honda 119
7. Zarco Johann Monster Yamaha Tech 3 110
8. Petrucci Danilo Alma Pramac Racing 110
9. Iannone Andrea Team Suzuki Ecstar 92
10. Rins Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 79
11. Pedrosa Dani Repsol Honda Team 76
12. Bautista Alvaro Angel Nieto Team 64
13. Miller Jack Alma Pramac Racing 61
14. Rabat Tito Reale Avintia Racing 35
15. Espargaro Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 32
16. Morbidelli Franco Marc VDS Racing Team 26
17. Syahrin Hafizh Monster Yamaha Tech 3 24
18. Espargaro Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 19
19. Smith Bradley Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 15
20. Nakagami Takaaki LCR Honda 14
21. Redding Scott Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 12
22. Kallio Mika Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6
23. Abraham Karel Angel Nieto Team 4
24. Pirro Michele Ducati Team 1
25. Luthi Thomas Marc VDS Racing Team 0
26. Bradl Stefan Honda Racing Corporation 0
27. Simeon Xavier Reale Avintia Racing 0
28. Guintoli Sylvain Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team 0
29. Ponsson Christophe Ponsson C. 0

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