Moto GP has been fantastic to watch this year and has garnered most of the attention from the racing world. With Valentino leading the World Championship and winning races it’s just the kind of year that the bosses at Dorna needed.
With that said if I had to choose a “Rider of the Year” in June I would be hard pressed not to choose Jonathan Rea. The first year Kawasaki Rider has been nothing short of amazing and for those that haven’t watched, you’ve done yourselves a disservice.
- 14 races run and he has won 10.
- Finished 2nd in the other 4 and is having the most successful start in WSBK history.
- One point away from having a full 5 race lead in the Championship, amazing.
Some of you will state that watching one person win every weekend has declined your interest in the series; you aren’t taking in the full picture.
Part of being a true fan is understanding when someone has stepped up their game so much that they make the rest seem substandard. Don’t get me wrong, Tom Sykes, Chaz Davies and others in WSBK are hardly substandard. These are guys with World Championships under their belts and many WSBK wins to their credit. But Jonathan has been riding a bike in the past that was 4th or 5th best out of the machines running. That caused him to override his equipment almost every weekend, the result, it made him more and more hungry. Now riding the ZX-10, with a great crew, he can push to those same limits and the bike will take him further with less risk. He can stick to a race plan and have the confidence in knowing that whatever he does he will be there at the end of the race with a shot at winning. His two races at Assen this year were unreal. If you get the chance, do yourself a favor and watch them both. To handle the situation he dealt with in both races and put up with the constant pressure he had was simply master class in my opinion.
It was great to see Leon Haslam winning at the start of the year. This again goes to show what a great rider on a great bike is capable of. That Aprilia is a proven race winner and Leon took it right to the front. He has struggled a bit lately through some injuries and such but is always a podium contender.
The two Ducatis seem to be finding their way as well. Chaz is the more consistent runner and after Thailand it appeared Ducati made a significant jump. At the start of the year the bike looked slow causing Chaz to override the bike, something you can’t keep getting away with lap after lap at that level. If a Ducati starts to win with any regularity it will be Chaz doing it. His teammate has proven he is fast over one lap in qualifying but seems to lack any real race set up.
The one rider that I love watching and have done some Twitter posts about is Michael van de Mark. Here is a young gut that I think will get on a competitive bike in the coming years and go straight to winning like what we have seen Rea do this year. Riding along with World Champion Sylvain Guintoli Michael has shown that he can run the pace and could be a factor this weekend in Misano. I love how he rides a bike and the controlled aggression he does it with.
There is so much good stuff to watch in WSBK at the moment so don’t miss out on some great racing because the Championship is essentially over. There are big rivalries, great story lines and more important, they are riding bikes like the ones parked in your garage so it’s somewhat relatable.
Predictions for the weekend:
- Rea and Sykes will have huge challenges from the Ducati’s at their home track.
- Chaz will be there till the end.
- If there is one track the Honda’s can sneak up at, it may be Misano.
- How will Biaggi do in his return will depend on how motivated he is, we know the bike is still capable.
Either way, tune in and watch because with Rea being so good right now, there is history in the making.
Be sure to enter your comments below and let me know what you think.
Enjoy the races,