NOT the MotoGP News: Australian Grand Prix… Mullet Over
Welcome to NOT The MotoGP News – our blog by Guy Anderson. Oh – and when you’re done, make sure to go follow Guy on Twitter – @SirGuyGuisborne
Phillip Island. It’s a great track; it runs around a spit of land in a way that mesmerises just about everybody who has seen it or who has ridden it. Is there anyone who doesn’t like it? It stands equal with Mugello for a circuit that is the world’s best for bike racing. Until you talk about the time of the year that DORMA decide to hold MotoGP there. In the name of all things black and round and made from rubber, what were they thinking of? Money. That’s what. Qatar pay millions to be the first race on the calendar, and Valencia gets the last gig of the calendar so Carmelo can walk home instead of driving at the end of season party. These are the two times when the MotoGP should be at Phillip Island.
And bloody hell it means the race weekend in Phillip Island can’t half get hit with wind and rain and temperatures so low that one’s gentlemen’s bits shrink to the size of a gnat’s.
The other thing is Australians. They’re like the French – they’re the only thing that spoils their country. There are some great exceptions that prove the rule like Mick Doohan, Casey Stoner and Jack Miller to name but a few. But only 36,000 turned up on Sunday watch the greatest racing in the southern hemisphere. And what’s more an extra Aussie was racing in MotoGP! C’mon you shackle draggers – get with the plan guys!
Moto3… 23 laps turned into 10 in the end. Brad Didn’t as he’ll be known as from now on (he didn’t bin-her) likes the look of that pole, and so it was his. He was the lucky one. Unlike Quartararo who’d been caught with a dodgy ECU and made to start from the rear of the grid. Its not like Leo-pard to bend the rules. So the Frenchman started from the back of the grid. More on that later. Turn 3 and that nippy weather caught six of them out. Mir and Pawis out for good, the rest re-joined. A harbinger of the future. A lap later and Honda Corner caught Canet out. And then Bulega decided it was too cold. All that hair and too cold? Oh well.
Brad Didn’t was looking good for this race. And Quartararo was on a mission. By lap 4 he was second. Yep! That 300cc bike was on fire, and no mistook! On the same lap Argie-bargy Argentinean Rodrigo nerfed Bagnaia and Di Giannantonio at Turn 10 and that was game over for those two – Rodrigo isn’t going to make friends nor will he influence them doing that sort of thing too often.
Genuinely the first 6 laps were like a prime-evil bare knuckle fight. No quarter given, none asked. Great to watch and no doubt fascinating to be in. The only trouble is, someone can get hurt. And so it was to be, but mercifully he’s ok. Wee McPhee lost it over Lukey Heights. In a big way. How he is ok (at time of writing he has a broken thumb and concussion; he’s had worse on a night out in Glasgow no doubt!) is frankly amazing. But at least he wont have to race in the humidity hell-hole of Sea-Pang.
Red flag and time for UK viewers to get a bacon sarnie as the riders sorted out another layer of long-johns.
Race 2 and it’s a mad sprint for 10 laps. And for some obscure mad and daft reason Quartararo had to start from last again, but he seemed to sneak a few grid places as someone else was on his grid slot. Not having to be content with paying his team’s penalty once, he had to do so again for the second time. Maybe Race Direction were trying out self-inflicted concussion just to see how bad it really is and how it effects decisions. Case proved. All that adrenalin and Dalla Porta’s left wrist twitched too early and he jumped the start. Ride through for the weak-willed young man. We aren’t convinced about it though – repeat after repeat didn’t seem to show anything. If Race Direction ever find a horse’s head in their collective bed, they’d do worse than to look in a certain direction.
Honda Corner eh? Race 2, lap1. Locatelli off. Quartararo again rode brilliantly in the opening laps, as did Brad Didnt. In fact Brad basically rode off into the distance. Boy he looked good. Unlike poor old Navaho Navarro who fell at (yes – you guessed it) Honda Corner.
In the end Locatelli was nearly 6 seconds behind Brad with young Canet 3.5 further behind.
Apart from the near-heart stopping moment involving McPhee, the Moto3 races were basically ace.
Bring on the cure for insomnia aka Moto2.
Except it wasn’t. It really does this to catch us out. Thinking of a snooze before the main attraction? Not a chance!
All of us in the office are incurable racing romantics and just seeing old footage of Pasini on a 125 will reduce us all to gibbering wrecks. The man is as hard as they come. And has the manual dexterity of a genius. How else do you explain clutch and front brake lever on same side of handlebar? Well Mattia was second on the grid alongside Swiss chocolatier Tom Luthi and in third was Sam Lowes.
Alex Marquez really didn’t like the weather and didn’t start due to falling in QP. His season gradually looks good, and then slips back to looking not so good. Hmmmmm……
One day Remy “martin” Gardener will look back at the past weeks and laugh, or at least smile. That might be a lot of years away at the moment though. The only positive he can really take away is that he made it to the grid and started the race. Even that wasn’t much solace; he fell lap1 turn10. Bugger.
All the time Pasini was keeping Luthi honest during the opening skirmishes whilst Slash lookalike Frankie Morbidelli worked his way through the pack to third, then second. Better than Alex Marquez, Sam Lowes is having a rollercoaster of a season. And Phillip Island was a down part of the roller coaster. Turn 2 and good night Vienna.
As Pasini got us scratching our noggins other weird things happened like Xavi Vierge was in the mix for a podium for a while. On a Tech-3 of all things! Mistral indeed…… Zarco and Rins were doing their level best to implode their season. Rins was riding like he’d been sniffing a tin of Dulux glass paint in an enclosed space, and Zarco looked more nervous than child visiting Michael Jackson’s Neverland for the second time. And so it proved to be; 19 laps to go and Rins fluffed a gear between turn and 2 and 3, ran wide and fell. Lorenzo Badass pushed hard all race to find 4th, but couldn’t get a hold of the top 3 who were giving us all a showcase of the best Moto2 racing we’ve seen in a long while.
Its hard for us to write this, but with 3 laps to go, Pasini got caught at Turn four, Honda Corner. Damn. And bugger too. Danny Kent too had nearly got to the chequered flag when Honda Corner had him.
With 2 to go, Slash passed Luthi and looked good for the win, but boy does Luthi have faith in his own abilities. Last lap, last corner and pounce. To win by 0.01 of a second. A great race for once.
Btw – is this the first time both Pons have finished the same Moto2 race?
Do you think Jeremy Burgess still watches Rossi? We hope so even if he does maybe feel aggrieved. Rossi started from fifteenth on the grid. Marquez started from pole. But tyres, weather and luck can all conspire to make races a lot more interesting than you’d imagine.
World champion, shiny teeth, youth and the ability to ride a bike like a god are all well and good, but when you try just too much it can all bite you back. Marquez was looking good for a monumental victory; Calzone Crutchlow was ripping into Marquez, but already Marc had made a comfortable gap. Until Turn 4 bit his arse. Fair enough Marquez later admitted it was his fault. With Rossi and Lorenzo languishing, and Pedrosa not there the rest of the field made hay whilst the sun shone. And by the way, it was shining albeit the weather was still bloody freezing. Aleix Asparagus, Hayden, Miller, Redding, Smith, Petrucci, Bradl all had a proper race. Further up the slope, the two Suzukis and Dovi had a battle that would have been the highlight if Rossi hadn’t been fighting like a cat thrown in a wheelie bin of badgers. He was trying to catch Crutchlow who inherited the lead from Marquez. And to be fair to Cal, he was lapping faster than Marquez had, and faster than Rossi could.
The Manxman won his second ever MotoGP race in the same season as his debut victory and by over 4 seconds. Rossi was second and Rossi’s next nemesis (Viñales) was third after Honda Corner lured Aleix Asparagus into running wide.
Lorenzo? Sixth and not a soul near him in front or behind.
What’s a win worth financially? £500k? Who knows – we don’t, but the Isle of Man has some great tax benefits.
Next up is sweaty Sea-pang!