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The ‘actual’ race debate sparked by Vinales’ historic MotoGP dash win

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Coming into the 2024 MotoGP season, three riders stood on the sting of constructing historical past: Vinales was one with Aprilia, Alex Rins with Yamaha and Jack Miller with KTM are the others.

All grand prix winners already with two producers (Vinales with Suzuki and Yamaha; Rins with Suzuki and Honda; Miller with Honda and Ducati), a victory in 2024 would make them the primary riders within the MotoGP period to have received with three completely different marques.

Vinales’ first win on the Aprilia within the Portugal dash successfully made him the file holder, however formally he isn’t.

When the dash format was launched final yr, it was at all times billed as being counted separate to a grand prix win within the file books. And, understandably, this was certain to trigger complications.

One thing all of the extra sophisticated in regards to the dash format is the reticence by many – together with the championship – to even confer with it as a ‘race’.

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Chatting with quite a few paddock journalists final yr, the consensus was that the majority of their weekend written content material dedicate only a few column inches to what occurred within the dash until it had a serious bearing on the grand prix and the championship at massive.

Learn over Autosport’s journal stories for every grand prix and also you’ll see how little the dash is talked about.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Crew

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales’ dash win in Portugal, which marked a number of milestones – the aforementioned third win on completely different bikes, in addition to his first for Aprilia and first since Qatar 2021 earlier than his acrimonious Yamaha cut up – pressured a change of tune in how the sprints are seen by some.

For Vinales, he and his Aprilia staff celebrated it as if it was a grand prix victory. So far as the Spaniard was involved, the trouble expended in a dash is greater than a grand prix, and the statistical standing of his victory means little.

“For me, no [it doesn’t make a difference] as a result of on the finish we race tougher on the dash than within the race,” he mentioned. “Usually the dash is the place I battle probably the most so to make a victory within the dash is superb.”

Different riders have taken completely different approaches to their dash wins. Alex Marquez, who received the Saturday contests at Silverstone and in Malaysia, instructed Autosport final yr that his British GP dash success “was a pleasant one, but it surely was a dash race within the moist. I’m at all times reasonable on that time, not [saying] ‘I received the race, I’m the most effective one’. No, I do know it was a particular state of affairs.”

So, is a dash win an actual win?

Evaluating a dash race win to the numerous grand prix victories which have come earlier than it could appear considerably disrespectful. Being the most effective over half a race certainly can’t stack as much as Valentino Rossi’s iconic victory over Jorge Lorenzo at Barcelona in 2009?

However what of the grands prix which have been selected shortened distances? Is Jorge Martin’s Japanese Grand Prix victory final yr in a race that was red-flagged after 13 laps much less spectacular than Francesco Bagnaia’s over a full distance two weeks later in Indonesia, when he inherited the lead after Martin crashed out?

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Grand prix racing is far safer these days than it was within the Nineties, for instance, so ought to that sway opinion? What in regards to the British GP wins between 1949 and 1976, when the occasion was staged on the Isle of Man TT?

In the end, the statistics outline what’s and isn’t an actual race, however that does considerably belie the trouble that has gone into successful a dash.

Toprak Razgatlioglu took a surprising World Superbike win in Barcelona final month in a dash race, recreating Rossi’s final nook overtake on Lorenzo from 2009 on Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega. It was a surprising strategy to mark the Turkish rider’s first win on the BMW having moved from Yamaha for 2024, and can go down in historical past as one of many best WSBK contests ever.

Does it matter that it was a race of solely 10 laps?

When WSBK launched its dash race – often known as the Superpole Race, because it partially decides the grid for Race 2, the second characteristic contest – for the 2019 season, it initially got down to depend Superpole Race wins and have race wins individually. That was deserted after the opening spherical, with the 10-lap sprints official WSBK wins within the file books.

Maybe, then, it’s time for MotoGP to embrace this and for the world to just accept that whether or not a race is 5 laps or 50, the riders concerned are pouring every little thing they’ve into each as in the event that they counted simply the identical.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Crew

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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