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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

10 issues we realized from the 2023 MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix

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The MotoGP title battle ignited on the San Marino Grand Prix as Jorge Martin’s brilliant double victory allowed him to shut the hole on championship chief Francesco Bagnaia. Pramac’s Martin broke his pole duck in 2023 with a stunner in qualifying to smash the lap record, and duly transformed this into dominant wins in the sprint and the grand prix.

It has allowed him to chop the championship lead down from 50 firstly of the weekend to 36 to Bagnaia, who battled via the ache of his injured leg to take a brace of thirds. It was nonetheless a valiant effort from Bagnaia and fellow injured Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Academy) to grit their enamel, delighting a feverish residence crowd within the baking sunshine.

Elsewhere, Dani Pedrosa returned to star as KTM’s wildcard, whereas getting tongues wagging in regards to the marque’s new carbon fibre chassis.

Off monitor, Marc Marquez continued to dominate the headlines as rumours of him breaking contract with Honda gathered amid hyperlinks to Gresini Ducati. However the weekend was overshadowed by the unhappy information of the passing of IRTA founder Mike Trimby, whose efforts during the last 40 years formed MotoGP into the championship it’s immediately.

Right here is every part we realized from the 2023 MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix.

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1. Marquez’s ultimatum to Honda as Gresini rumours persist 

Marquez has been frequently linked with becoming a member of Gresini Ducati and breaking his Honda contract early

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The persistent hearsay throughout the whole San Marino GP weekend was Marc Marquez quitting his Honda contract a year early and joining Gresini Ducati.

Marquez insisted “I’ve a contract” for subsequent yr when pressed on whether or not he would or wouldn’t be staying with HRC. Honda insists it by no means held any conversations with the rider about him quitting, whereas the Gresini camp stayed quiet because it lapped up the huge consideration it acquired.

As all of this swirled, it added to the narrative of the Monday take a look at at Misano as being all-important for Marquez’s future. The bike he’ll experience on Monday, and which was raced by Stefan Bradl through the grand prix, isn’t a large step ahead from the present bundle. That may very well be seen as a large mistake from Honda.

However Marquez has made it clear what he actually desires. He has given staff boss Alberto Puig an inventory of technical names he desires to be poached by Honda for 2024 to spice up the undertaking. Puig has to ship on that to maintain Marquez candy.

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Certainly, when requested by Autosport about Pedrosa’s spectacular flip as KTM’s tester-turned-wildcard, he stated: “It’s true that at all times the take a look at rider is vital, and Dani after all is the perfect rider doable to check and experience the bike and provides feedback. However for me, a very powerful factor for a take a look at rider is the engineers. As you see, Aprilia and Ducati have a standard take a look at rider, not Dani Pedrosa.

“And they’re enhancing loads. So, in the long run, a very powerful factor nonetheless is the engineers and the event aspect. As we see right here, Bradl is testing new issues and [there are] many new faces within the storage, new engineers. So, yeah, Japan is reacting and that is good.” LD

2. Bagnaia and Bezzecchi’s willpower is to be admired 

Bezzecchi and Bagnaia both rode through the pain barrier to score podiums

Bezzecchi and Bagnaia each rode via the ache barrier to attain podiums

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Francesco Bagnaia was astonishingly fortunate to flee from his horror crash on the Catalan GP in Barcelona. Having highsided violently exiting Flip 2 as he stormed into the lead from pole place, the Ducati rider landed in the midst of the monitor as the remainder of the pack raced in the direction of him earlier than his leg was run over by KTM’s Brad Binder.

Marco Bezzecchi in the meantime was caught up within the Flip 1 pile-up prompted by Enea Bastianini. His crash attempting to make up floor from 14th on the grid triggered a multi-rider collision that concerned the VR46 rider, Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Bagnaia was left with extreme bruising to his proper leg, whereas Bezzecchi’s left hand was in ache all through the Misano weekend. However regardless of their accidents, each riders powered via and placed on valiant shows on residence turf. The pair took double podiums, with Bezzecchi second for each races and Bagnaia third.

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It was evident after Sunday’s race simply how arduous the reigning world champion had pushed, requiring assist to even dismount his Desmosedici, whereas Bezzecchi stated after Sunday’s race that although it was “nothing loopy”, the harm was inflicting him “loads of ache” and made the race robust.

Pushing via harm to experience might be arduous at the perfect of instances, however doing so to attain double podiums proves simply how decided MotoGP riders might be. MW

3. Martin’s kind bounce well timed as title cost ignited

Martin is best-placed currently to take the fight to Bagnaia and riding high on confidence

Martin is best-placed at the moment to take the combat to Bagnaia and using excessive on confidence

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jorge Martin’s cost to victory in each races in Misano may show essential to his title hopes, with an enormous factors haul slashing the hole to chief Bagnaia because the championship enters the flyaway rounds.

Claiming second from Bezzecchi after one other double victory on the German GP, Martin adopted it up with three much less profitable rounds, with a greatest GP end of fifth and only one dash podium handing Bagnaia a 62-point benefit. However Martin acquired again on the rostrum with third ultimately weekend’s Catalan GP and reasserted his dominance at Misano to nearly halve his deficit to 34 factors.

A double win from a satellite tv for pc rider proves simply how sturdy Martin’s efficiency might be on a very good weekend and, though he shies away from discussing the title, the Spaniard is definitely in with a shot given the large factors hauls accessible with the addition of dash races in 2023.

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Talking after Sunday’s race, Martin stated: “I simply need to benefit from the second. For certain, my goal is to only win races. I’m not even a manufacturing facility rider, so it’s not on me to win the championship.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve that duty. For certain, if I’ve the possibility – as I’m having now – I’ll attempt to get it. However my day will come when I’m a manufacturing facility rider and for the second I’m not. I’ll attempt to benefit from the second, but it surely’s not on me.” MW

4. KTM’s radical path change exhibits energy of European marques

Running a carbon fibre chassis, wildcard Pedrosa came close to podiums in both races

Operating a carbon fibre chassis, wildcard Pedrosa got here near podiums in each races

Photograph by: KTM Photos

KTM stirred up the paddock on Friday on the San Marino GP when it unveiled its carbon fibre chassis on Pedrosa’s wildcard entry.

The Austrian producer has at all times used a metal chassis in its grand prix racing exploits, together with its step as much as the MotoGP class in 2017. And through its years of wrestle, it steadfastly refused to desert its philosophy for a extra typical aluminium body as utilized by its rivals. It was rewarded for its persistence, however the truth KTM is wanting past its traditions to take a step in the direction of title glory in MotoGP says loads in regards to the mindset of the European marques.

It’s not a brand new idea. Ducati raced a carbon fibre body from 2009 to 2011, having beforehand used a metal chassis, earlier than abandoning that idea for the traditional aluminium route. Aprilia has examined a carbon fibre body lately, whereas varied producers have used carbon inserts in frames in recent times. KTM’s hope, as with all chassis, will likely be to enhance grip and turning – the previous a key factor for the RC16.

Because the Japanese producers toil behind the grid, caught within the rut of their very own traditions, KTM’s newest evolution highlights precisely why it, Aprilia and Ducati rule the roost in MotoGP now. LD

5. Pedrosa’s lack of MotoGP titles speaks nothing of his true class

Pedrosa was widely lauded for his efforts on his return

Pedrosa was extensively lauded for his efforts on his return

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Pedrosa put in an outstanding efficiency on his wildcard KTM in Misano, placing in two very respectable fourth-place finishes in simply his third grand prix outing since he retired on the finish of 2018.

The 37-year-old Spaniard even regarded near snatching a podium from a struggling Bagnaia within the closing phases of Sunday’s race, stating after ending simply 0.669s shy of the reigning world champion that “fourth place had by no means felt so good to me earlier than”.

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The KTM take a look at rider added: “I would not know find out how to give myself a grade, however I am fairly proud of the efficiency. I do give the staff a really excessive grade, they’ve labored effectively and with out errors.”

His sturdy performances additionally garnered reward from fellow riders, with Aleix Espargaro saying Pedrosa’s strength “makes you doubt about everything,” and claiming it was “actually unfair” that he hadn’t gained any of the three titles through which he completed as runner-up (in 2007, 2010 and 2012).

Espargaro added: “Pedrosa has at all times been particular, he has by no means been a standard rider. He has at all times been one among my favourites and, if he continues to be match with out every part that he did not like about this championship that he does not need to endure, he exhibits what he’s.” 

Sadly for Pedrosa’s followers although, a full-time return is not in his ideas.

“I am not contemplating returning at any time,” he stated. “Moreover, you see the issue we have now, there are extra riders than bikes, we’re not going to mess it up any extra. I’ve had loads of enjoyable, however every part has its time and I’ve already had mine. Increasingly more, now I get pleasure from bikes from the surface.” MW

6. Miller shoots down wild KTM rumours

Rumours suggesting Miller would move aside for Acosta were wide of the mark

Rumours suggesting Miller would transfer apart for Acosta had been extensive of the mark

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

There may be seemingly no finish in sight for KTM’s rider logjam, because it seems to discover a place for Pedro Acosta in 2024. Whereas neither Tech3 rider desires to be drawn into it, Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez are considered pitted towards one another to resolve who (each have 2024 contracts) will stay of their race seat.

One wild hearsay that emerged previous to the San Marino GP got here out of Italian media, who prompt KTM had supplied Jack Miller double his wage and 10 wildcard outings for 2024 to maneuver apart for Acosta. Wildcards are restricted to 3 per producer below the present guidelines, so immediately this hearsay will get blown out of the water. However that didn’t cease the Australian from also stepping in front of it to shoot it down.

“Was it Spanish? I don’t even know who it was,” he started when requested in regards to the rumours of his future. “It doesn’t hassle me. It’s good to have your title within the headline though you’re not.

“I imply, it’s simply the way in which it goes. I’m fairly content material, I’ve acquired a reasonably busy couple of weeks developing, so I don’t need to focus my consideration on that shit.

“I used to be ready for one thing to come back in my mailbox for me to signal! However nah, there’s no reality to that. I do know what job I’ve acquired to do at KTM, what they’re maintaining me on for, and what we’re right here to do. And what we’re right here to do is to deliver them onto the subsequent stage. It’s a very good drawback for KTM to have now, as a result of 12 months in the past now I used to be combating to get on this factor. Not my drawback.” LD

7. Aprilia’s Misano struggles the exception reasonably than the rule 

Aprilia couldn't emulate the highs of Barcelona with a somewhat muted display

Aprilia could not emulate the highs of Barcelona with a considerably muted show

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

After a barnstorming weekend final day out at Barcelona, Aprilia had an unwelcome bump to earth at Misano because it failed to hassle the rostrum placings.

With Aleix Espargaro successful each races, whereas Maverick Vinales completed third within the dash and second within the grand prix, the Catalan GP marked the Italian staff’s strongest efficiency up to now this yr – and its first-ever double podium in a grand prix.

Perception: 10 things we learned from the 2023 MotoGP Catalan GP

This weekend was a extra sedate affair, with Vinales main the way in which within the dash in sixth, along with his team-mate in eighth. Vinales was fifth in Sunday’s race whereas Espargaro fell outdoors the highest 10 in twelfth.

Regardless of battling rear chatter all through the weekend, Vinales was pleased along with his fifth-place end, and in addition stated he had struggled with the rear on nook entry – one thing which was not a problem within the earlier two rounds.

Requested whether or not Barcelona or Misano was a more true reflection of Aprilia’s present kind, Vinales stated: “They’re two completely different tracks. Right here, everyone seems to be quick as a result of there may be loads of grip. I feel we have to take as a reference Assen, Silverstone, the grip stage is medium, it’s not very excessive or low. On these tracks we had been fairly quick.

“In Misano, it’s at all times tough, Ducatis doing 2000 laps right here, KTM had been testing beforehand. It’s true that Sava [Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori] was testing right here however he was testing very new issues that we can not even attempt. On this monitor, everybody goes quick, I embrace myself on this, I’m going quick too. However for me, tomorrow is essential to enhance the braking and we’ll take revenue within the subsequent tracks after all.”

Espargaro believes the highest 5 is a practical purpose within the championship, noting that he’s simply 12 factors behind Binder.

“With the shit starting of the season that I did, I’m proud the place we’re,” he stated. “It’s tough, that is MotoGP. The Aprilia is just not good right here, however I’ve to say that additionally I’m not good right here, I’m not very aggressive right here.” MW

8. Lack of overtaking as soon as once more lamented 

Overtaking ultimately was in fairly short supply

Overtaking in the end was in pretty brief provide

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

It wasn’t way back {that a} tight monitor like Misano nonetheless produced wonderful racing in MotoGP. The pass-and-repass battle between Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo in 2019 for victory on the final lap is a testomony to this.

However as MotoGP bikes have superior and the aero warfare broke out, overtaking all over the place has gotten tougher. This has been compounded by the brand new tyre stress guidelines too.

Neither of the races at Misano this yr had been notably thrilling, with only one overtake occurring between the main trio throughout the dash and the grand prix. When requested about this, Marquez famous that in tracks like Misano, you both have to only ship it on the restrict and hope for the perfect – praising Binder for doing this – or it’s inconceivable to maneuver forward of anybody.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro added: “We now have to race all over the place, however I don’t like these kind of circuits as a result of there isn’t a present. It’s very boring, very small. However we have now to race all over the place. It’s true with these kind of bikes, you want greater layouts. These bikes have loads of downforce, actually quick at turning, so in small tracks like this it’s inconceivable.”

Not everybody shared this viewpoint. Martin agreed that it’s a lot tougher to overhaul at Misano than it was once, however says it’s all the way down to the riders on tighter tracks to do higher in qualifying to have the ability to begin additional forward. LD

9. MotoGP does one-off liveries higher than anybody

Ducati's throwback livery for Bagnaia earned plenty of admirers

Ducati’s throwback livery for Bagnaia earned loads of admirers

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With each Ferrari and Alfa Romeo operating particular liveries at their residence Method 1 races final weekend at Monza – Ferrari paid tribute to its Le Mans successful staff, whereas Alfa Romeo sported a surprising Italian flag paint job – it was solely honest that MotoGP groups acquired their probability this weekend.

Each Gresini and Ducati took full benefit of being at residence, with Gresini sporting a throwback paint job in tribute to late founder Fausto, whereas Ducati reverted to the yellow of {old}.

Each had been beautiful – and blew their F1 counterparts out of the water. That is partly all the way down to F1’s weight limits, which has seen paint jobs stripped again. Because of this regardless of groups’ greatest efforts, they’re typically underwhelming, with followers unexcited by McLaren’s British GP livery, for one – anticipating one thing extra akin to the chrome of a decade in the past.

With the elevated freedom allowed in MotoGP, the sequence typically options essentially the most spectacular one-offs – simply this yr alone there’s been Pramac’s spectacular break up Divine Comedy liveries at Mugello and RNF’s enjoyable Barbie-inspired pink and blue in Austria.

Look again additional, they usually get even higher – consider all of the spectacular color schemes Valentino Rossi has sported through the years. MW

10. MotoGP loses a real large 

Tributes were paid to Trimby (right) following his death at 74

Tributes had been paid to Trimby (proper) following his demise at 74

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

On Saturday at Misano, the MotoGP paddock woke as much as the unhappy information that stalwart member Mike Trimby had passed away at the age of 74. A former racer, Trimby headed the primary riders union in 1982 earlier than founding the Worldwide Street Race Groups Affiliation (IRTA) in 1986, the place he additionally served as CEO.

Trimby gave the riders a voice in a harmful time for grand prix racing once they had been handled poorly and monitor security was abysmal. That work carried on with IRTA, giving the race groups a voice within the decision-making course of, and has completed extra for grand prix bike racing than most.

Tributes flooded in for the Briton over the Misano weekend, with a minute of silence held on Saturday night on the principle straight. Trimby may also be inducted into the MotoGP corridor of fame, marking the primary non-rider to obtain the honour. LD



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