MotoGP San Marino GP: Winners, Losers …and Perfect Timing – The FULL GAS Blog
There couldn’t have been a better place to host round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship than Misano. With Valentino Rossi separating himself from title rival Jorge Lorenzo by 12 points, thanks to his win at Silverstone, it’s a perfect time for thousands of Italians to witness their hero race in front of them once again. Surprisingly, it was nailing the perfect timing, and missing it, that decided the outcome of the events in Misano and the situation of the championship.
Those who got it right are clearly winners. Those who didn’t can only hope for the best in the next races. Here’s the list of last Sunday’s winners and losers.
Winner: Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez is a double MotoGP world champion for a reason. While some critics say that he was just lucky to win multiple championships because he was given great support and top notch bikes throughout his career, Marquez’s performance in Misano proved that it takes more than those to be at the level he’s currently at. His brilliant race craft, judgement, and riding skills helped him to win the race that saw on-off showers that tested the skills of the best motorcycle racers in the world.
Marquez entered the pits for the second time before Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi to switch back to his dry set-up machine as weather and track conditions were improving. This gave him the edge he needed to beat his main race rivals and secure his first MotoGP win in Misano.
Winner: Brits Bradley Smith and Scott Redding
“Luck favours the brave,” said Bradley Smith at the post-race interview. Smith trusted his gut at the very tricky San Marino Grand Prix and his gamble to stay out on track for the whole race paid off as he finish a MotoGP career best second place. This is Smith’s second MotoGP podium but he admitted he never expected to be on the podium.
“I stayed out all race and didn’t pit once, which was definitely a crazy decision – I even admit that myself. I never expected to even be on the podium; when you see P21 on your board you can’t expect that you are going to win but then when I saw P2 I understood quite quickly that Marc was only just in front,” he said.
Who would’ve thought Scott Redding would claim his first MotoGP podium after being the first rider to crash in the race? The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider pushed and tried to make some good lap times in the end and was rewarded with a rostrum finish at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit.
The exceptional results Redding achieved in the last two races would not make him stick with the Honda again next year (he races with Pramac Ducati next season), but it’s nice to see Redding finally accomplishing something with the Honda RC213V.
Winner: Loris Baz
Who says Loris Baz is too tall for MotoGP? Baz’s impressive fourth place finish in Misano plus his other point scoring finishes this season should erase all the questions marks if he is fit for MotoGP. Baz was one of the very few riders who timed his pit stops right. A podium finish was possible until Scott Redding passed him but fourth was still a fantastic result for the French rookie. Add to that he’s now leading the open class standings.
There were rumours about Baz getting a chance to stay in MotoGP next year and taking the vacant Avintia Ducati seat. His result came at a perfect time and this boosts his chances of taking the ride.
Winner: Valentino Rossi
It’s tough to decide whether Valentino Rossi came out as a loser or a winner at the San Marino Grand Prix. Despite seeng his streak of consecutive podium finishes come to an end, miscalculating the timing of his pit stops, and finishing just fifth in front of more than 92 thousand fans in his home Misano race, Rossi is still a winner. While he admitted that a race win was not possible, a podium finish was at least achievable.
“I don’t think I could have won, because to win today you have to have your mind free from the championship and take risks, especially with slicks on a drying track. Maybe I could have arrived on the podium or in front of Baz,” said Rossi.
For the championship Rossi said his final position is a great and important result because he almost doubled his championship lead over Jorge Lorenzo, who crashed out of the race in the closing stages of the very unpredicatble Misano MotoGP race.
Loser: Jorge Lorenzo
Biggest loser of the weekend has to be Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard fell at turn 15 shortly after pitting for his dry-set up bike. It was a costly and bad timing crash for Lorenzo as he now finds himself 23 points behind Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi. Forunately for Lorenzo, Rossi only finished a season low fifth place. Had Rossi perfectly timed his pit stops, he would have finshed in a higher position and Jorge Lorenzo will have to work harder if he desires to win the title.
Lorenzo was very honest when he said he made mistakes like not trusting his team’s pit board and becoming impatient with warming up his rear tire when Scott Redding passed him. The Factory Yamaha riders can’t take a lot of risks like the other riders. For them this is obviously not the time they’ll be wanting wet races again in the remaining 5 rounds.
“To be honest in the dry conditions I feel ready to fight for the victory in all the tracks. But obviously we don’t need any more races like today or Silverstone. This is true,” Lorenzo said.
Marc Marquez, Bradley Smith, and Scott Redding all deserved to be on the podium in Misano. Interestingly, all the podium finishers are still very young riders. Marquez and Redding are both 22 years old and Smith is 24. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like it’s already been a long tme since the average age of the top three finishers of a MotoGP race was this young.
If we can only also include the top open class finisher on the podium, then Loris Baz, who is also only 22 years old, would’ve been a great addition to an already young rostrum finishers.
Winner: Enea Bastianini
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira might be the one who was able to control the lead the longest, but it was Gresini Honda’s Enea Bastianini’s perfect timing in the final stage of the race that helped him secure his first grand prix career win. Rimini’s Bastianini is a very talented and young rider capable of winning races and championships. Winner of 6 second places in his career (4 this year), Bastianini’s first win came at the perfect time and the right place. Winning at his home track will surely be an experience the 17-year-old will never forget. It will be hard to beat Kent but at least his Moto3 title hope remains alive.
Loser: Alex Rins
Alex Rins is having a great debut season in the Moto2 category and has tons of potential of becoming a serious threat to the Moto2 title next season. But last Sunday’s race clearly showed that Rins is still a work in progress when he made a rookie mistake on just the second lap. Rins took out leading man Dominique Aegerter and was blacked flag late on the race after battling with riders while a lap down.
If the title hope of Enea Bastianini in Moto3 is still alive, the same cannot be said of Rins’. Not only did he left Misano empty handed, it was also unlucky for him that it was Zarco who won the race and Rabat’s now second in the championship. Rins falls to third place in the standings.
FULL GAS: Our regular blog by Kermit Abadilla from the Philippines – taking a look back at the weekend’s race action and sharing other MotGP, Moto2, Moto3, and WSBK related stuff. A fan of the sport since 8, he is interested in fitness, sports, inspiring businesses and stories, reading, and likes daydreaming and helping. He also does social media & content writing.
Photos: Marc VDS Racing, Repsol Media, motogp.com