2019 MotoGP Round 15
Boris on Buriram
So that’s the championship done. Marquez has swept all before him. It was down to Dovi to keep the series vaguely alive by not letting Marquez beat him by more than two-points, but as it turned out, Ducati’s Number One rider offered up a rather lack-lustre performance on Sunday.
The only one out there banging was the rookie, Quartararo, who offered up a carbon-copy of his Misano performance by leading Marquez for almost the entire race.
But the Marquez pass was inevitable. Sure, Marc would sometimes drop back by almost a second, but then he’d make up the time and Fabulous’s helmet would be full of screaming factory Honda noises each time Marc would park it on his rear tyre.
When the move came, Fabulous fought back. Twice. But on the last corner he just couldn’t turn the bike in time and Marquez pipped him over the line.
There were some concerns on Friday in FP1, when the world champion viciously high-sided himself at Turn Seven on an out lap. He propped on his hands and knees for a scary long time, but he was just winded and refused all offers of a stretcher as he limped off. It would appear, from the images we have all seen, his carbon-fibre swingarm failed catastrophically – but the day HRC owns up to equipment failure, will be the same day Fenati is allowed to race in MotoGP.
The next day Marquez came back and qualified in third, behind Vinales and Fabulous, who has continued his golden run of pole-positions this season. Apparently, Yamaha has given him the the 500 rpm he’d been missing on his hand-me-down satellite Yamaha, and Fabulous must have used every single one of them on the weekend – he was glorious to watch.
Maverick also looked kinda funky and kinda fast in Qualifying, but come the race, he just couldn’t match the pace of the Marquez and Fabulous. He’s changed his number, he’s grown some face-hair, and he’s embraced the Top Gun movie on his leathers, and now there are noises being made he might be happier flying over at Ducati, leaving Rossi and fabulous to redeem Yamaha.
Miller also looked in great form in Qualifying. He was sixth, behind Petrucci and Morbidelli. But he stalled his bike on the grid and had to start from pit-lane. And he still beat Jorge Lorenzo, which must burn the Mamba like a cattle brand.
It’s not possible to see inside Lorenzo’s head, but you have to ask how long Honda and the evil Puig will tolerate this non-performance from him. This time he finished 56-seconds behind the winner – so shit is getting worse, not better. Lorenzo hotly maintains he will see out his contract with HRC. HRC is saying nothing.
Crutchlow had a shitter of a race, but it was still better than Lorenzo’s. It seems Cal had torn his bicep during Practice and battled home in 12th after starting in 13th.
Rossi was also nowhere to be seen. He struggled to keep a newly-minted Mir and his team-mate Rins from sixth place for a while. He failed, and came eighth.
The Yamaha camp is responding to Rossi’s dismal performance in the latter half of this season by moving his crew chief, Silvano Galbusera, over to the testing team – which will now feature Zarco – and replacing him with Nicola Bulega’s crew chief, Davide Munoz, who also helped Bagnaia win last year. New young blood, and the poaching of Jack Miller’s former Ducati techno-geek to sort the control ECU out means that Rossi isn’t retiring any time soon.
And the rest of the season will now be about next season. Dovizioso looks like he’ll secure second place with 215 points, so it will be all about third place. Rins, Vinales, Rossi, Petrucci and Quartararo are all possible players for the bottom step.
For his part, Marquez will spend the rest of the season trying out 2020 bits on his motorcycle and logging data. Honda will be selling off assets to be able to afford the Spaniard when his contract comes up for renewal next year. And be in no doubt about how much Honda needs Marquez. Without him, at the moment HRC would be fighting with Aprilia and KTM for mid-field glory.
As for Marquez’s team, I hope they can find someone to take some of the naff out of his championship celebrations. Last year it was the cringe-worthy video game thing.
This year, it was some bizarre ritual involving a pool table, a man chalking his cue, Marquez potting a gimme eight-ball, and then stroking a beach-ball-sized eight-ball signifying his eighth title.
I found it strange because being ‘behind the eight-ball’ means being in a bad position you’re unlikely to escape from.
Marquez has hardly been behind the eight-ball all season. Maybe if he shot himself out of a cannon, or released eagles into the sky, or rode an elephant?
The next fly-away round is in Japan. And if you think Marquez won’t try and win, you haven’t been paying attention.
MotoGP Buriram Race Results/Championship Standings
|DNF||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia||9 Laps|
|DNF||Mika KALLIO||KTM||23 Laps|