How good is Moto GP right now!
I mean, I realize it could always be better but this year has had some real drama. So far the biggest thing for me has been the weather. One thing I always express to young kids I get to work with is, “lets be the smartest rider out there.” What I am trying to say is, people remember Championships and ultimately that is what will pay your bills down the line. You can’t advertise 2nd place.
Well is it any doubt that the smartest rider this year has been Valentino Rossi? Maybe that is why he is 9 times World Champion. I have heard all the things said about how the weather has played out in his favor at some of the rounds and Assen is still something people talk about. To be a World Champion you have to be ready for any conditions at any time. When those lights go out at 2pm on Sunday the rider most plugged in will usually be on the podium winning or racking up the points. Valentino has done everything he can do to be where he is this year and it has been so cool to watch. Not sure how anyone could root against him. He has done more to put our sport on the global map then anyone and at 36 how can you not love how deep this guy digs? Be so cool to see him get a 10th World Championship.
Can Jorge steal the crown?
As hard as this is to write, I think Jorge Lorenzo will. His pace in the dry has proven just a bit much for anyone to match, even Marc Marquez. Jorge has the ability to go out and run lap times that are consistently quicker and he can manage a gap much like he did at the most recent race in Aragon. I wrote a column in June that basically said that Marquez can not keep riding over the edge. As a racer we always want to give 100%, but when you do that you run a very high risk of falling over. The Yamaha has improved and Marquez can’t run and hide so easy, and in fact it often looks like he is struggling to keep up. Just recently I heard a comment from Lorenzo expressing how he rides at 95% because he cannot be at the limit the whole time. If his 95% is that much better than the chasing group, it’s going to be a long 4 races for Marquez and Vale.
Now, heading into next week Marquez has injured himself again. Breaking his 5th Metacarpal in a mountain bike training accident only adding frustration to his season. I have never ridden at Motegi in Japan but it looks like a track with a lot of hard braking areas which will really stress his hands a lot. Having had surgery will help the healing but he hasn’t shown that breakaway pace anymore and riding injured won’t help that. With there being some big shake ups in the rules as well as tires for 2016 it will be interesting to see if he can get the feel he wants back in his Honda.
Rossi and Pedrosa
It would be crazy if I didn’t talk about that battle between Dani Pedrosa and Vale at Aragon, what a chess match. Seeing the passes from the aerial views showed me just how bad each rider wanted to finish 2nd. I wonder if Rossi could have closed the gap to Jorge had he been able to get through on his first attempt, we will never know. Since Portugal in 2006 I have essentially written off Pedrosa from any kind of fan aspect. He took out Nicky and I know racing is racing, blah blah blah. What he did that day to put himself in that position was inexcusable to me. However, on Sunday I was more than impressed and even found myself rooting for him a bit. Why? He was showing fight to the best Moto GP rider I have ever seen. Vale nearly always comes out on top of those battles and it was good to see a smile on the face of Pedrosa for once. He has had a great career but I think that ride alone in Spain could spark something for him. If he gets up and starts battling Jorge things could get very interesting. Also, there will be fireworks in that Yamaha garage before this is all over because you know Vale is not going without a huge fight.
So where do I stand on all this? My heart wants Rossi but I think Lorenzo has the best shot. Marquez will be hurting at Motegi but will win 2 of the last 3 I reckon. If Pedrosa builds on Spain’s performance he could be the real spoiler in all this.
So who is your money on? The Smartest or the Fastest?
Cheers and ride safe,
Check out a STAR School and see what it takes to be the smartest rider out there! BTW, the smartest usually turn into the fastest on any given day.