2019 Motegi MotoGP with Boris


The Carnival Isn’t Over

Did Motegi surprise anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Yes, another simply dominant display by the re-crowned world champion, Marc Marquez.

He’s just ticking boxes at the moment.

MotoGP Motegi Sat Marquez
Marc Marquez after taking pole on Saturday

“I’ve never had a pole position here. Sorted. Then, best I win this in case anyone thought I was fluking this stuff.”

MotoGP Motegi Honda Marquez Celebrate
Marc Marquez after winning on Sunday

And so he did. From start to finish again. Sure, he let Fabulous have a sniff now and again, but each time the Rookie of the Year (and rightly so) came within half-a-second, Marc would just go faster.

MotoGP Motegi Start
Motegi MotoGP 2019

He won by eight-tenths of a second, and single-handedly secured the Manufacturer’s Championship for HRC. Thanks for playing, Jorge, Cal and Taka. It’s like you weren’t even there.

MotoGP Motegi Honda Marquez Celebrate
Marc Marquez

It’s a good thing Honda’s market capitalisation is valued at US$50.4 billion. It will probably be able to afford to pay Marquez what he is going to ask for next year.

MotoGP Motegi Honda Constructors
Marquez and Honda celebrate Constructors Championship, which Marquez won for them by himself…

What happened behind Marc was vaguely interesting – if only in terms of mathematics for the championship, and tyre choice and management.

MotoGP Motegi Honda Marquez Leads
Motegi MotoGP 2019

Marc went out on Mediums. Fabulous chose Softs – obviously reasoning it was the only chance he had. And it was. The kid did great keeping up, and at the end, keeping Dovizioso at bay.

One more lap and Dovi looked certain to claim second place. To his credit, Andrea worked like a plough horse to ease his Ducati from seventh on the grid to third place.

MotoGP Motegi Quartararo Dovi Vinales
Dovizioso had plenty of work to do in order to gain that podium

Jack Miller once again proved strong in Qualifying, and fired himself from sixth into third for the first few laps. And then he went backwards, clearly betrayed by his choice of tyres or a poor breakfast.

MotoGP Motegi Morbidelli Miller Dovi
Franco Morbidelli ahead of Jack Miller and Dovi

Cal Crutchlow, inspired by having all of Honda’s upper management at the track looking at the Honda riders who have not helped win HRC the manufacturer’s trophy, made a fist of it to land in fifth, which is where he started. For Crutchlow, this is like winning a race. He did not eat gravel, and he did not go backwards.

MotoGP Motegi Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

The same can be said of Lorenzo, who started in 19th, but fought heroically against Guintoli, Syahrin and Abraham to come 17th, only 40 seconds behind the winner – an improvement of 16 seconds from last race.

MotoGP Motegi Honda Lorenzo Puig
Lorenzo on the grid with the evil Puig…

Of course, the paddock is still rife with rumours of Lorenzo’s alleged departure from Honda, and replacement by Zarco, who will be filling in for Nakagami for the last three races. Takaaki is off to get his shoulder rebuilt for next year.

Zarco, who did get an offer from Yamaha to be a test-rider, held off on accepting the offer, and then all of a sudden he’s riding an HRC bike for the last three races. The rumour mill is squealing.

MotoGP Motegi Honda Lorenzo Syahrin
Jorge Lorenzo riding up the back with the satellite KTMs…

Lorenzo is insistent he will remain for the duration of his contract, and Honda is also saying all the right things in that regard. This means nothing. Unless Lorenzo suddenly starts making massive advances in the last three races, and comes out blazing in 2020, there is no way Honda will keep him.

Of course, it’s not like Lorenzo is needed to win a championship. Marquez seems to have that sorted. But a company does not accumulate US$50 billion by paying big money for non-performers. It’s entirely possible Lorenzo’s off-season will be interesting for his lawyers.

MotoGP Motegi Mir
Joan Mir

Both Suzukis ran well. If only they could qualify better with more regularity, both Rins and Mir could well be fighting for podiums. Suzuki is aware of this issue, and is taking steps to enhance the ability of its bikes to produce a blistering one-lap marvel to give their riders a better chance in the race.

MotoGP Motegi Morbidelli Foot Miller
Franco Morbidelli had an exciting tussle with Jack Miller early on

Franco Morbidelli would be the rookie everyone would be talking about if it wasn’t for his team-mate, Quartararo. Once again, Frankie produced a good result, but his team-mate is on another level.

MotoGP Motegi Race Dovizioso Vinales
Dovizioso got the better of Vinales late in the race

Maverick Vinales is also not blind to the fact Yamaha is looking at Quartaroro with a gleam in its eye. I’m thinking Maverick’s improvement in the latter half of this season has a lot to do with Fabulous being so fabulous.

Petrucci is still lost in the wilderness. He started in eighth, and finished ninth. I’m thinking him and Jack won’t be mates next year.

As this season winds down, a little bit of friendly cheating has emerged. Guintoli had his Practice times scrubbed for running a 2020 engine, and Rabat used one too many engines, was penalised by a five-second delay on the grid, and chose not to race instead. No-one even noticed.

MotoGP Motegi Rossi Pack
Rossi racing with the also-rans….

Rossi’s weekend was an unmitigated disaster. He started in tenth and crashed out near the end of the race. No-one understands why. Not even The Doctor. Rossi complains about lack of grip, but he’s being flogged by satellite Yamahas – the same bikes he was riding last year, which also had no grip according to him. I predict some major tantrums in the Great One’s garage next year if things don’t get better.

MotoGP Brno QP Rossi
Valentino Rossi

And so we come to Phillip Island. Fast and furious, and the weather is anyone’s guess. Vinales won last year. Marc ate dirt. But Marc won in 2017 with Rossi close behind. This also means nothing. He’ll probably win. I’d put a fifty on it if you can get decent odds.

MotoGP Motegi Race Finish
Marquez will probably do it again this weekend….

MotoGP Results/Standings

 

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 42m41.492
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +0.870
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +1.325
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +2.608
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +9.140
6 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +9.187
7 Alex RINS Suzuki +9.306
8 Joan MIR Suzuki +10.695
9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +14.216
10 Jack MILLER Ducati +18.909
11 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +25.554
12 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +27.870
13 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +29.983
14 Mika KALLIO KTM +31.232
15 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +32.546
16 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +37.482
17 Jorge LORENZO Honda +40.410
18 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +43.458
19 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +46.206
20 Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki +50.235
Not Classified
DNF Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4 Laps
DNF Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 17 Laps
Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 350
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 231
3 Alex RINS Suzuki 176
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 176
5 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 169
6 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 163
7 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 145
8 Jack MILLER Ducati 125
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 113
10 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 100
11 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 85
12 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 74
13 Joan MIR Suzuki 66
14 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 47
15 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 37
16 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 33
17 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 33
18 Johann ZARCO KTM 27
19 Jorge LORENZO Honda 23
20 Tito RABAT Ducati 18
21 Stefan BRADL Honda 16
22 Michele PIRRO Ducati 9
23 Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki 7
24 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 7
25 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 5
26 Mika KALLIO KTM 2
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