NOT the MotoGP News: #AustralianGP
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) *
Phillip Island is nirvana spoilt by the wind and the rain and in our best Jeremy Clarkson inner voice it’s called “nature!”
Yep, we’re back at probably the best circuit in the world. Mugello is definitely as good, and sometimes (for riders) Silverstone is there too. They’re all high speed, and they all need massive testes. Like the size of bowling balls. Obviously, this is a metaphorical construct otherwise they wouldn’t get their leathers on.
There are, however, a few things wrong with racing at Phillip Island. It’s on the far edge of nowhere, and the weather, more times than not, is horrendous. Worse than England. But it is good. Very very good.
There’s something of a phenomenon* going on at DORMA**. Someone or even somebody looked into their crystal ball, saw that the weather was going to be abysmal on Sunday and made the informed decision to hold the race on Saturday. Yep, the full 27 lap race with full points and not the short, half-points race that is normally held on a Saturday. Phew!
And old Jay-Zee won! Yep, the marvellous old warhorse Frenchie bloke gone and popped his cherry. At last! He may not win again as he’s off to ‘Onda, but the record books will say for eternity that he crossed the line first in Australia.
The rest of the field put in a remarkable race too. Martin, on a soft rear, set off like the pub was about to call last orders, and built a 3.5 second lead. And then lost it as his rear tyre fell apart. He led from start to 8 corners from the finish line. Yep, it was that awful for him. His title rival Bagnaia overtook him at the same corner as Zarco in a move more desperate than Dan, but undoubtably safe and fair. Bagnaia is fast becoming the Houdini of MotoGP; getting out of crap situations in a way he has no right to. Unless you’re a WC. Which he is.
The other riders to use a soft rear were Pol Asparagus and Marc Marquez. No idea why Pol used it, and Marc just used it to get in the way of everyone for 5-7 laps. Fun to see though.
Rideless-for-2024 Di Giannantonio has become a revelation over the past few races. Fourth last time out, and now running at the front the whole race and holding his own. Yes, he has a new crew chief this year, so what was happening last year. The poor guy was always going to lose his seat Marc Marquez or not, and now where? Repsol Hinder? Maybe. Or RNF if Oliveira goes to Hinder?
Binder has cemented his role as lead KTM rider whilst Miller didn’t. Jackeroo has been in two factory teams but just seems unable to be consistent whereas Binder seems to have grasped the aero and downforce gubbins with relish. Home races are never easy; all the fans’ expectations and all the media attention, and unless you’re Spanish or Italian, nothing really happens. See also Crutchlow and/or Dixon at Silverstone.
And what of Yamaha? Almost, “So what Yamaha”. Last race Quartararo was on the podium. This time he was 14th, nearly 21 seconds behind Zarco. But still, he beat Marc.
Yet again, the grid wasn’t full as the lights popped off; Rins’ leg wasn’t as good as he and his team thought so he went shopping in Melbourne (or not).
* Spot the link
** Yep – still doing the old window in the attic joke.