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MotoGP 1/6th Progress Report: Hots And Nots So Far

We are 1/6th of the way through the 2015 MotoGP championship. Liam looks at who has impressed so far, and who needs to do better.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

We've had three races on three different continents so far in the 2015 MotoGP championship. Each circuit has offered a different challenge - the spotlights of Qatar, the damp but drying track in Austin, and the fully dry, gloriously hot circuit at Termas De Rio Hondo. That has made for three different types of race too - at least in the MotoGP class.

Here, I'll look at who the winners and losers from the first three rounds, spotlighting who has come out smelling of daisies, and who reeks of failure.



Valentino Rossi

Maybe surprisingly, maybe not, the Doctor is leading the championship after three races. Sure, he's taken advantage of mistakes by others but isn't that what good champions do? He's looked like the Vale of old: comfortable on and confident with his bike, has a good setup underneath him, and looking like a threat. Three very good rides see him at the top of the pile, and its a nice feeling, as a long-time Rossi fan.

Andrea Dovizioso

And maybe you can add his teammate Andrea Iannone to this. Again turning back the clock, the Ducatis have looked like the Ducatis did when Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden walked to world titles on them. Sure, they don't have the pure pace of the factory Hondas, but they're competitive. How much of that is down to bike rather than racer is negligible. Dovi has always been deserving of a fast bike (and was royally shafted by Honda) and Iannone was fast in the minor classes, so I'm pleased they're both up at the business end of the field.

Aleix Espargaro

Make no bones about it, the Suzuki is a slow bike. It doesn't have the speed of any of the other factory bikes in the field. It's slower than the customer Yamahas and possibly some of the customer Hondas, and maybe even the Pramac Ducatis. Yet Aspargaro is getting good points finishes and was second on the grid in Argentina. It was always his brother Pol who excelled in the minor classes, yet here he is, while not outplacing his brother, certainly outperforming him on the inferior bike.


Marc Marquez

Yes, he has a win, and he performed well in Qatar, but he's made three mistakes this year and it has cost him two wins.

The first was his awful start in Qatar - if he'd gotten away from the line well, he'd have won at a canter. As it was, he fought his way up the field to finish fifth. Good performance, should have been better.

The second was his tyre choice in Argentina. Everybody else who had a choice of hard or extra hard rear tyres chose the extra-hard. Marquez chose the hard, used the early grip and confidence in the tyre to break away, and then promptly got reeled in as the tyre degraded and he had to slow down.

The third was thinking he could keep up with Rossi on a dud tyre. If Valentino Rossi goes past you twice and your tyre is giving up the ghost, settle for second. Yes, he's only young, but he's a two time world champion and should know better. I don't think he'll do it again in a hurry, but as he actually has some competition this season, he needs to cut out these mistakes if he's to make it three in a row.

Repsol Honda

Granted, they couldn't have seen Dani Pedrosa's injury coming, but not putting Casey Stoner in ahead of Hiro Aoyama is a headscratcher. I can see their logic, mind. Why put a former world champion in when you can put a notably renowned slower rider in? Kiss goodbye to the constructors' title while Pedrosa is out, because that bike is not getting near the front (except for Marquez but he has his own issues).



Johann Zarco

A first and a second for the Frenchman, in his fourth year in Moto2. He finally looks like a player in the Honda class, and it is long overdue. He's consistent this year, and looks like he could be at the top end come the end of the season.

Sam Lowes

After a DNF in Qatar, he came back with a bang, winning in Austin and coming third in Argentina. He's always been a rough diamond, but this year may see Lowes get his edges smoothed out. Admittedly, he gave away second in Argentina a bit too easily, but he'll learn from it and move on. He was commanding at the Circuit Of The Americas.

Alex Rins

After three races, a class rookie leads the world championship. Rins has deserved it too - yet to record a win, but consistenly putting in good performances. If he can turn one into a win, it'll help his cause no end, but he's not got any immediate need to change anything, what he's doing now is just fine. Good showing.


Tito Rabat

A DNF in Qatar, 11th in Argentina, Rabat's best showing in his defence of the championship is fourth in Austin. The guy's got talent, but boy does he need to start showing it again because he's at a huge disadvantage already.

Thomas Luthi

Former 125cc world champion Luthi should really be pushing on now. He's never looked fully comfortable on the 600s, which is weird due to how much potential he had. If he doesn't get his act together soon he'll have to start looking for alternative employment because his career has stalled.



Danny Kent

Imperious. Third in Qatar, the next two races have brought him two wins, with a combined winning distance of over 18 seconds. Faster bike? Not so sure myself. He's a damn good rider, and the bike's good, but Moto3 should be harder than this.


Everyone Else

Literally. Pull your finger out and make something of this season.

Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section, but that's how I've seen the first three rounds. Check back with us next weekend for coverage of round four in Jerez.