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Thursday, June 13, 2024

10 issues we realized from the 2023 MotoGP Dutch GP

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Francesco Bagnaia prolonged his MotoGP world championship lead with victory within the Dutch Grand Prix and within the course of halted a clear sweep by Marco Bezzecchi, who topped each observe session, grabbed pole and received the dash race.

That each one shook out to see the reigning world champion take a 35-point lead over Jorge Martin into the summer season break, with Bezzecchi only one additional level behind in third.

A battered and bruised Marc Marquez was absent from the Cathedral of Velocity on Sunday as his religion in Honda took one other hit, whereas Fabio Quartararo was nonetheless capable of finding consolation on an in any other case robust pilgrimage for Yamaha.

Listed here are the ten issues we realized from the 2023 MotoGP Dutch GP.

1. Typically Ducati and Bagnaia do have to come back from behind

Bagnaia prolonged his factors lead together with his fourth grand prix win of the season on Sunday

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Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Given {that a} ‘dangerous’ weekend for Francesco Bagnaia proper now seems to imply settling for second place, it’s straightforward to imagine that the Ducati manufacturing facility workforce solely has to show up on the observe as a way to assist itself to (at worst) a podium.

However as Bagnaia reminded anyone who would hear after his grand prix win at Assen, it’s not all the time that easy. This was one other instance of a weekend the place issues on his aspect of the storage didn’t begin easily on Friday. It took till the warm-up session on Sunday morning to get the bike purring at its greatest.

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“Each on the Sachsenring and right here at Assen, we didn’t begin in the easiest way, and needed to construct by the weekend,” he defined. “I seen one thing that my bike wasn’t doing proper within the dash race, so we tried to seek out one thing this morning within the warm-up. And we discovered it!

“We improved our scenario throughout the weekend. Sachsenring was the identical, and so was Jerez. And being able to enhancing like that is one thing I will be actually completely happy about with my workforce.”

Whereas Bagnaia absolutely makes a very good level, cynics could level out that the information sharing inside the huge military of Ducati bikes on the grid makes it simpler for a Ducati crew to seek out its approach out of bother inside the confines of a MotoGP weekend. RA

2. Bezzecchi is a title fighter – it’s as much as him and Martin to catch Bagnaia

Bezzecchi won the sprint after topping qualifying and every practice session but couldn't hold off Bagnaia in the main event

Bezzecchi received the dash after topping qualifying and each observe session however could not maintain off Bagnaia in the primary occasion

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Many pre-season predictions would have one out of the highest three right heading into the summer season break. Defending world champion Bagnaia on the manufacturing facility Ducati was all the time more likely to have a say, however it might’ve taken some daring guesses to choose Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi as his nearest challengers.

However by a mixture of Ducati’s domination, Honda and Yamaha struggles, quite a few accidents throughout the grid and standout performances from Martin and Bezzecchi, they’re the 2 that can take the title struggle to Bagnaia. The Italian’s 35 and 36-point lead is a cushty cushion to lean on over the summer season siesta, however the defending champion received’t be enjoyable on it given he started to overturn his personal 91-point deficit to Fabio Quartararo this time final yr.

However what Martin and Bezzecchi don’t have of their armoury is a vastly superior bike that Bagnaia had 12 months in the past, with Martin on equal GP23 tools with the Italian and Bezzecchi on the year-old GP22.

Bezzecchi, arguably the star of the present at Assen, resisted assertions of a title struggle the final time he took centre stage again at Le Mans, however these attributions will probably be more durable to shake off this time.

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Certainly, celebrity performances, like Bezzecchi in Argentina and France and Martin in Germany, coupled with off weekends for Bagnaia (like Argentina, the US and France) may give both rider an opportunity to wipe out the deficit in a single swoop.

For MotoGP’s sake, albeit within the context of a three-way Ducati struggle, it’s precisely what the collection wants over the second half of the yr. HC

3. Martin seems to have made his 2024 resolution

Martin lamented being overlooked for a factory Ducati seat, but has all the tools he needs for success at Pramac

Martin lamented being ignored for a manufacturing facility Ducati seat, however has all of the instruments he wants for fulfillment at Pramac

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

It was an unlikely state of affairs wherein Jorge Martin wound up on a manufacturing facility Yamaha for 2024, however that hyperlink seems all however {dead} now.

Martin wasn’t completely happy to have been ignored for the manufacturing facility Ducati seat that went to Enea Bastianini for 2023 however it was by no means a drawback, because the Italian marque ensured machine parity and full assist for the Spaniard at Pramac.

And he’s used this to full impact in 2023, taking a double victory in Germany that he adopted up with sixth within the dash race and fifth within the grand prix at Assen to keep up his second place within the riders’ championship.

Speaking ahead of the Dutch GP, Martin sensibly famous: “I’m completely happy the place I’m. I don’t see a purpose to alter. I’ve a manufacturing facility bike, a tremendous workforce that’s pushing for me. I really feel like 2024 ought to be the identical.”

Although confirming his contract stipulates he may depart Ducati for 2024 if a manufacturing facility workforce makes a proposal, the one one with a spare seat proper now could be Yamaha and it received’t give him a title-winning bike.

Naturally, high riders need the ego increase a manufacturing facility workforce contract gives. However in the end crucial factor is successful, and that’s what Martin will proceed to do with Pramac and Ducati in 2024. LD

4. Yamaha can nonetheless dare to dream…at Yamaha circuits

Sprint podium for Quartararo was a rare bright spot in a recent fallow spell for Yamaha that gives it hope for historically friendly upcoming tracks

Dash podium for Quartararo was a uncommon brilliant spot in a current fallow spell for Yamaha that offers it hope for traditionally pleasant upcoming tracks

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Simply when it regarded like issues couldn’t get any worse for Yamaha, its {old} good friend Assen handed the beleaguered producer a break. Certain, the lengthy streak of Yamahas taking Dutch Grand Prix victory in (no less than) each odd-numbered yr was lastly damaged, however Fabio Quartararo’s dash race podium was nearly as good as a win proper now.

That third place could have been inherited, because of Brad Binder’s penalty. And sure, Sunday went horribly awry for the Frenchman. However the tempo was there all through the weekend. Proof that on the suitable type of circuit, the Yamaha can nonetheless compete.

This can be a implausible increase for the workforce because it heads into the summer season break. Earlier than Assen, it hardly regarded like it might be price Yamaha turning out for the second half of the season. Now it could actually cautiously look ahead to a few of its happier playgrounds, beginning with the subsequent spherical at Silverstone.

The squad may even have its eye on Barcelona and maybe Misano as races the place Quartararo may but shine. Barcelona was one among solely three races the 2021 world champion managed to win final season.

Wins are in all probability nonetheless a giant ask, notably since holding observe place might not be as straightforward on a few of these tracks because it was at Assen. However Yamaha has no less than some grounds for optimism when the venue fits. RA

5. Marc Marquez and Honda want a break – however may non permanent grow to be everlasting?

Marquez's future with Honda was the subject of intense scrutiny at Assen as he again missed the grand prix after a disappointing sprint

Marquez’s future with Honda was the topic of intense scrutiny at Assen as he once more missed the grand prix after a disappointing dash

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

To cite TV mega-hit ‘Buddies’, Marc Marquez and Honda will go into the summer season stating “we have been on a break”. The Ross and Rachel of the MotoGP world, when it’s good it’s actually good. However when it’s dangerous…

The triple-header should have felt like an ever-worsening nightmare within the #93 camp, with Marquez enduring a pick-n-mix of accidents with every heavy fall which means he solely began three sprints and one grand prix race, choosing up three factors in whole.

Whereas this season is a write-off – Marquez remains to be but to see the chequered flag on a Sunday – consideration has turned as to whether the talismanic Spaniard will even be in Honda colors subsequent yr as hypothesis grows on him seeing out the ultimate yr of his present contract.

As is well-known, Marquez’s exit choices are slim for subsequent yr, however Assen may characterize a breaking level after it was announced he had suffered a literal fracture to a rib to go along with a fracture in his left hand from his bruising German around the weekend earlier than. Honda workforce boss Alberto Puig – MotoGP’s Roy Keane relating to handing out assessments – gave out some tough love.

“Now we have a contract, however each particular person is free to do what they need in life,” Puig mentioned. “And Honda isn’t an organization that wishes to have people who find themselves not completely happy being at Honda. So, in fact, we now have a contract, however Honda respects Marc loads. I wish to suppose [he will stay] based mostly on the contract, however I don’t have a [magic wand].”

With Puig seemingly confirming Honda’s backdoor was unlocked if Marquez wished to exit from it, consideration instantly swung to the six-time MotoGP world champion, however he felt it wasn’t the suitable time to remark with feelings swirling.

“Now I’m in a giant second and I can’t take into consideration this,” he remarked. “You can’t determine issues about your future when you’re in such a situation. Throughout this month and a half, I have to rebuild my physique and the psychological aspect. I’m in one of many worst moments of my profession. However I’m very fortunate that I’m in among the best moments in my private life, with an excellent workforce round me. All the pieces is secure and this helps loads.”

Each will use the summer season break to get better, recharge and replicate. Will probably be the primary level of focus for everybody in six weeks’ time at Silverstone. HC

6. All riders want the prolonged break to get better from accidents

The summer break will be an important chance for riders carrying ailments, such as Honda's Joan Mir, to get back to fitness

The summer season break will probably be an essential likelihood for riders carrying illnesses, similar to Honda’s Joan Mir, to get again to health

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Talking of needing a little bit of R&R, Marquez isn’t the one one. In actual fact, in all probability each rider on the MotoGP grid is nursing an ailment of some sort – be it bodily or psychological – as a gruelling triple-header supercharged with dash races involves an in depth.

By a stroke of fortune MotoGP has been gifted an prolonged summer season vacation for a second yr in succession, and this yr it has grown by two weeks because of the cancellation of the inaugural Kazakhstan GP that was lined up for the 7-9 July. Six weeks off is sort of so long as the winter low season when factoring in post-season and pre-season testing and whereas it has its drawbacks, forcing MotoGP out of the highlight for an elongated interval, will probably be a welcome reduction to these within the paddock.

It ought to present all riders with sufficient time to return to health – Alex Rins’ nasty leg break one which will require extra restoration time – however the likes of Marquez, Fabio Quartararo, Aleix Espargaro, Miguel Oliveira, Enea Bastianini, Joan Mir and Pol Espargaro can all use the time to heal bones and muscle mass earlier than the subsequent gruelling chunk of the season.

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And so they’ll want it. The British MotoGP on 4-6 August is just spherical 9 of 20 and begins a run of 12 races in 17 weeks. HC

7. Pirelli Moto2/Moto3 tyre provide deal an attention-grabbing subplot in F1 saga

Moto2 and Moto3 bikes will have Pirelli tyres next year as Dunlop bows out - could the Italian manufacturer eye a move into the top class too?

Moto2 and Moto3 bikes can have Pirelli tyres subsequent yr as Dunlop bows out – may the Italian producer eye a transfer into the highest class too?

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

One of many greater shake-ups to hit the Moto2 and Moto3 lessons over the past decade is the information – revealed by Autosport during the Assen weekend – that Pirelli will take over from Dunlop as sole tyre provider from 2024.

This comes at a time when Pirelli’s tenure as Formulation 1’s sole tyre provider could possibly be coming to an in depth, because it faces competition from Bridgestone for the contract from 2025 onwards.

MotoGP’s present tyre provider Michelin is locked in till the tip of 2026, however the potential lack of Pirelli’s F1 contract will depart it on the lookout for one other main world championship to associate with over the subsequent few years.

Thus, its Moto2/Moto3 (having already acted as long-time provider to the World Superbike Championship) foray could possibly be seen as dipping its toe within the MotoGP waters. LD

8. Acosta’s MotoGP step will get seal of approval from high riders

Acosta has set many tongues wagging with his prowess in the junior categories

Acosta has set many tongues wagging together with his prowess within the junior classes

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

First reported by Autosport and confirmed throughout the Assen weekend by the rider himself, Pedro Acosta’s transfer to MotoGP is nearing as he settles on KTM to make the step.

It’s an unsurprising improvement, however one which has been met with anticipation by high riders within the MotoGP paddock – as one would count on when speaking a couple of potential generational expertise.

“We all know he’s prepared. If he believes he’s prepared, then that’s all that issues,” KTM’s Jack Miller commented. “I like that he’s younger, he’s assured and that’s what you should do when you’re that age.

“That you must say what you suppose. For positive, I’m excited on the prospect and hopefully, KTM can hold him within the household in fact as a result of we’d like to have him on one among our bikes.”

Marc Marquez, who induced an analogous stir 10 years in the past when he stepped as much as MotoGP after a headline-grabbing junior profession, added: “In fact he’s prepared. He’s displaying an excellent efficiency, already final yr ultimately of the yr, and now this yr. So, yeah, he’s prepared to maneuver to MotoGP.” LD

9. First format revisions set for 2024

Will Fridays be a little less intense in 2024? Oliveira doesn't think so

Will Fridays be rather less intense in 2024? Oliveira would not suppose so

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The brand new weekend format in MotoGP has taken some adjustment, however many of the complaints in regards to the dash revolution have largely subsided.

Nevertheless, one gripe that has persevered has been the depth of Fridays. Due to the addition of sprints, the qualifying teams for Saturday morning are determined based mostly on the mixed instances on the finish of FP2 on Friday.

This has led to Friday classes turning into mini qualifyings, which a variety of riders have complained is compromising their weekends as a result of it’s stopping them from finishing up any significant testing.

As reported by Autosport on Thursday, MotoGP has agreed that from 2024 only the times in FP2 will count in the direction of who goes straight into Q2 and who has to face Q1.

RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira felt this received’t actually change a lot, whereas Francesco Bagnaia famous that – whereas a Positive change – riders would want the tyre allocation adjusted for this to really work to provide them another entrance choice. LD

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10. Riders should settle for accountability is a part of the sport

There was plenty of spotlight on Miller after his Sachsenring comments

There was loads of highlight on Miller after his Sachsenring feedback

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jack Miller’s barbed comments towards unnamed rivals during the German GP, wherein he instructed them to “shut the fuck up and get on with the job”, as an alternative of complaining about their bikes, was a serious speaking level heading into the Assen spherical.

The KTM rider didn’t again down from his feedback, which is commendable, and clarified that he made them as he felt complaints about manufacturers was bad for the health of the championship.

That argument is a bit flimsy: the very fact these producers are struggling is a foul picture for the championship, as is the truth that two world champions – Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez – are being restricted by the large shortcomings of their bikes.

Miller additionally clarified that his feedback weren’t aimed straight at Marquez, who didn’t touch upon the scenario, earlier than claiming his phrases have been taken out of context and made into “clickbait”.

These have been phrases mentioned in an open media debrief attended by a press officer and reported by numerous retailers – if there was a real case for phrases being taken out of context, there was ample time and scope for this to have been mounted by the workforce.

Miller, as all riders are, is free to talk his thoughts. This ought to be actively inspired. Nevertheless, half and parcel of free speech is that it’s essential to settle for counterarguments and accountability. In that sense, riders ought to simply “get on with the job”. LD

By Richard Asher, Haydn Cobb and Lewis Duncan

Miller retired from the grand prix after an early crash

Miller retired from the grand prix after an early crash

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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