NOT the MotoGP News: #CatalanGP
Photo: Michelin Motorsport
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
…it was Catalunya.
Somewhere in this mad bad sad world we live in, a cat has woken and is taking a long, hard, and incredibly worried look into a mirror. The cat is worried and confused; how on earth did it wake up this morning with just one life left? It went to sleep on Saturday night with nine lives just as any cat should expect to. But now? One miserly life left. What in the name of all things that are holy, had happened?
What had happened as you and we know was Francesco Pecco Bagnaia had basically walked away scot-free from a career-ending injury. Hopefully he’s bunging a much money as he can spare into cat rescue charities right now. That was some lucky situation; over 200kgs of Binder and KTM running over your leg?! Hats off to Alpinestars.
Bagnaia had started from pole with three Aprilias and 2 other Ducatis in close attendance. It was not they that caused a turn 1 crash on lap 1, but Bastianini who hurtled and skittled 4 other riders with what could be best described as “a bit of an optimistic try”. Pecco then did for himself by highsiding a few seconds later. Red flag.
The red flag didn’t help Bastianini who obviously didn’t restart. For a while it looked like Top Gun Maverick was going to flip the coin, confound the critics and write his name into the record books by being a winner on three different makes of machine. Although Martin had taken the lead at the restart of the race, Mav slipped past him within a lap and looked to be pulling a nice lead. Aleix was in third and Miggy Oliveira was top 5.
And whilst the race was young, Quat and Marc were surprisingly looking good. Who cares that non-runners had artificially bolstered their positions, right now, they will take anything that helps. By lap 5 Quat was 8th whilst shiny teeth Binder had retired with a technical KO. Biggest surprise of the early part of the race was Digi was showing some kind of form. He can’t still think he’s got a ride next year, can he?
Meanwhile, Pramac Ducati reject, JZ, was 5th. LCR might have one part of a bargain for 2024. It just needs Honda to supply a fixed bike. Oh, hang on; Zarco doesn’t stand a chance. Just take the money Johann. He might be a grumpy looking sod with weird ideas about covid and vaccines, but he’s never far from the front week in week out (almost).
Talking of older statesmen, Aleix had taken the lead and on lap 10 hit 219mph on his ‘Prilly. That used to be the preserve of Ducati, but the Noale team are giving the Bologna boys something to think about.
The whole bizarreness of the race continued; Augusto Fernandez was hassling Marc M and ‘Prilly had 3 riders and bikes filling the top three places. Wtf? It wasn’t to last and diminutive Martin passed Oliveira for third, a place he held to the finish.
Everyone knows that last year Aleix screwed up big time finishing his go earlier than everyone else. Apparently, it happens a lot when you’re young. So we’re told. An older and wiser Asparagus didn’t need reminding of this and kept going in the lead until after the chequered doo-da.
Happy days for ‘Prilly with a 1-2. For a few hours low days for Ducati until news reached us that Pecco and Enea were relatively ok. That’s racing; beautiful and wondrous mostly, tough and ugly sometimes. You can’t have one without the other.