First, A Correction
While writing about potential rides for next year, the information I had to hand was that KTM would be joining the championship next year. This, as I was made aware of on air by BT Sport's Julian Ryder, is wrong, and they're joining in 2017. Apologies for this oversight, and it won't happen again.
Onto The Races
The afternoon started with a bit of rain. Rain is always fun in MotoGP. Form goes out of the window and magic happens.
Danny Kent took pole yet again, finishing 0.088 seconds ahead of Miguel Oliveira. The surprise package was Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who put in a corker of a lap to qualify third. Enea Bastianini, Fabio Quartararo and Brad Binder filled out a very competitive second row, with Romano Fenati in 11th. Maria Herrara qualified in 23rd, with Philipp Oettl last in 34th, a crash early in the session ending his qualifying.
Moto3 was declared a wet race, meaning most of the riders, including the frontrunners, started on wets, but some more daring riders started on slick tyres.
Oliveira made a superb start off the line, with Kent closely behind. Binder was up to second at one point, then taking the lead ahead of Efren Vasquez, with Kent down in third before losing out to Oliveira. Vasquez soon went past Binder for the lead, before falling behind again. Out of nowhere, Alexis Masbou hit the front.
It was hard to keep up with this. The rain didn't keep falling, and the track dried out quickly. Loads of riders pulled into the pits to change tyres, including Danny Kent, Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder. This left newbie Lorenzo Dalla Porta, in his first race, up in second before falling to fourth, and Livio Loi of all people up to second. John McPhee was riding seventh as Loi took the lead of the race. Darryn Binder was fourth. Philipp Oettl, who started last, was up to third. Andrea Migno was up to fourth.
17 laps to go. Loi led from McPhee by 18 seconds. Oettl was 20 seconds behind McPhee in third. Romano Fenati was the first of the usual suspects, riding in fifth ahead of Isaac Vinales, before Brad Binder moved up to sixth. Sorry if I'm missing anything, the mass tyre changes have thrown me completely.
Of the championship frontrunners, Enea Bastianini was the only point-scorer with 14 laps to go, way down in 14th. Oliveira sat in 21st, with Kent in 27th. Three laps later, Kent was up to 25th, but still 30 seconds behind the points, Bastianini up to ninth.
Rain started to fall again with eight laps left. Fenati was a comfortable fourth. Vasquez crashed out of 21st. Loi maintained a 22-second lead ahead of McPhee, while others unlapped themselves. Nobody was getting close to the front three though. The rain came harder with two laps left - would it make a difference?
The most interesting part of the last three laps was the battle for fifth. Vinales looked angry when jumping from fifth, with Binder and Jorge Navarro trading places with Bastianini and Niccolo Antonelli. Loi took the flag though, a fully superb and deserved win. McPhee got his first slice of luck in 2015 and finished second, well ahead of Oettl in third. Fenati was a distant fourth, with Vinales winning the battle for fifth. Bastianini took a vital sixth, and Oliveira claimed the last point in 15th. Kent finished down in 21st.
That was magnificently ridiculous. Loi's gamble to start on slicks paid off, and the early switches for McPhee and Oettl paid huge dividends.
|1||Livio Loi||RW Racing||40:50.747||25|
|2||John McPhee||Saxoprint RTG||+38.860||20|
|3||Philipp Oettl||Schedl GP||+57.781||16|
|4||Romano Fenati||Sky VR46 KTM||+1:15.296||13|
|5||Isaac Vinales||RBA Racing||+1:19.814||11|
|6||Enea Bastianini||Honda Gresini||+1:23.801||10|
|8||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM||+1:24.659||8|
|9||Jorge Navarro||Estrella Galicia||+1:25.292||7|
|10||Jorge Martin||Mapfre Mahindra||+1:35.105||6|
|11||Fabio Quartararo||Estrella Galicia||+1:35.784||5|
|12||Karel Hanika||Red Bull KTM||+1:35.801||4|
|13||Andrea Locatelli||Honda Gresini||+1:35.913||3|
|15||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM||+1:43.203||1|
Kent loses ten points to Bastianini but still has a comfortable championship lead. Fenati moves up to third. That bonkers race makes it a bit more interesting, but it's still Kent's to lose.
|Moto3 Championship Top 5|
|1||Danny Kent||Leopard Honda||190||0|
|2||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Honda||134||10|
|3||Romano Fenati||Sky VR46 KTM||112||13|
|4||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM||100||1|
|5||Efren Vasquez||Leopard Honda||96||0|
Alex Rins continued his impressive first year in Moto2 by taking pole, ahead of Tito Rabat by 0.137 seconds. Last year's racewinner Mika Kallio picked up where he seemingly left off last year, completing the front row. Sam Lowes could only come seventh after a fall in qualifying, but he's in good company on row three, joined by Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli.
Moto2 was also declared wet, after the rain started just before the end of Moto3 and continued through the gap between races.
Rabat made a great start from second, but Rins reclaimed the lead at turn two. Julian Simon launched himself up to third from 17th on the grid, taking second a turn later, before Hafizh Syahrin went all the way around everyone to take the lead. Lowes had a good first lap too, moving to third and then second. Zarco took fourth at turn one of lap two, before the front changed up completely, Syahrin dropping to fourth with Simon claiming the lead, then losing it to Sam Lowes and Dominique Aegerter.
Rins and Zarco started to trip each other up for fifth, with Azlan Shah looking interested in seventh. Rabat had dropped to ninth, and Takaaki Nakagami, who started on the second row, found himself in 21st. Shah moved past Simon and Rins and took fifth, with Zarco ahead in fourth. Simon then fell from seventh, spoiling what had been a good run.
The next lap, Syahrin made use of the slipstream to take the lead from Lowes. Zarco found a gap to take third from Aegerter, and Rins reclaimed fifth from Shah. Zarco took second from Lowes on the following lap, his momentum then taking him past Syahrin into the lead. Rins dispatched Aegerter for fourth, taking third from Lowes later in the lap. He ran wide at the start of the following lap though, allowing Aegerter and Lowes back through.
Rabat seemed to be on the warpath, making his way back through the field and dragging Shah along with him. Aegerter took second from Syahrin, but Rins dropped away a little, with Rabat and Shah leapfrogging him. Rabat took fourth from Lowes. Aegerter then took the lead from Zarco, with the championship leader reclaiming a turn later then Syahrin nearly going around the outside of both of them. Rabat would take third the next lap, as Aegerter put the same move on Zarco again, this time making it stick. Mika Kallio fell with 15 laps left, soon followed by Sandro Cortese.
Soon it was Rins' turn to move up the field, going from seventh to second in two laps. Franco Morbidelli was past Lowes for sixth. Alex Marquez suddenly popped up into ninth, Shah down to tenth. Rins took the lead on the next lap, as Rabat ran wide behind him. Zarco then went past Aegerter to reclaim second. Rins looked to have an advantage, but Zarco closed it up almost instantly and reclaimed the lead. Syahrin dropped down to eighth, Lowes and Tom Luthi moving up a place. Rins took the lead back later in the lap. A rare blip from Zarco saw him run wide and nearly lose third to Rabat. Aegerter then hit the front again. This race is fantastic.
With six laps left, Rins left a huge gap for Morbidelli to take fourth. Rabat was in third but falling away from the leading pair - Zarco and Aegerter swapping leads. Rins then went past Morbidelli and Rabat into third, with Lowes taking sixth from Luthi, before taking a big crash at the last corner with four laps left. Rins snuck up inside Zarco for second. Morbidelli knocked Rabat out of stride, claiming fourth. Debutant Xavi Vierge crashed out. Aegerter was looking good at the front though.
Rins took the lead with two laps left. Zarco shoved Aegerter out of the way, forcing the Swiss rider down to fourth with Morbidelli taking third. The last lap was much more civil, until Syahrin fell off. Rins took the win, Zarco coming second ahead of Morbidelli. Aegerter had to settle for fourth after leading much of the race, ahead of Rabat and Luthi. Shah ended up an ultimately-disappointing 11th.
|1||Alex Rins||Paginas Amarillas HP40||41:18.866||25|
|5||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS||+2.963||11|
|8||Xavier Simeon||Federal Oil Gresini||+7.562||8|
|10||Alex Marquez||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS||+9.801||6|
|14||Marcel Schrotter||Tech 3||+25.187||2|
Zarco extends his lead in the championship, again. He now has a 71 point advantage, with Alex Rins now sitting in second place after his first GP win. Lowes drops to fifth after his crash. It looks increasingly likely that Zarco won't be caught, but don't count out the rookie Spaniard on his little yellow bike.
|Moto2 Championship Top 5|
|2||Alex Rins||Paginas Amarillas HP40||128||25|
|3||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS||125||11|
|5||Sam Lowes||Speed Up||107||0|
Marc Marquez was primed to continue his run of dominance at Indy, taking pole with his first fast lap in Q2 - initially 0.7 seconds faster than anyone else. Dani Pedrosa got closest to him, but was still 0.17 seconds behind. Jorge Lorenzo completed the front row, knocking Cal Crutchlow down to fourth after a string of superb laps by midfield runners.
Danilo Petrucci put in two stonkers in both Q1 and Q2 to claim fifth, knocking the extremely quick Bradley Smith down to sixth. Andrea Iannone started from seventh, ahead of Valentino Rossi (who took the strange option of wearing in a tyre during Q2) and Maverick Viñales, who's time had him in fifth with four minutes remaining. Andrea Dovizioso headed up row four ahead of the Espargaros, Pol ahead of Aleix.
No wet race for GP, although with the different rulings and flag to flag system, no need.
Lorenzo made a great start for the lead going through the early turns, Iannone moving up to fourth and Smith gaining a place too, with Rossi too following them through, taking fifth later in the lap when Smith ran wide. Marquez was keeping hold of Lorenzo in second, but the pair were pulling away from Pedrosa in third. Rossi took fourth from Iannone, while Smith and Espargaro swapped sixth at regular intervals.
Lorenzo did what Lorenzo does, maintaining a gap to Marquez while Pedrosa started to close the gap to his team mate. Crutchlow took ninth from Scott Redding, while Viñales and Dovizioso were having a battle for 13th. Rossi couldn't make any impression on the gap to Pedrosa, but in turn Iannone wasn't catching him up, even though he was pulling away from Smith and Pol.
Crutchlow took another slot, taking eighth from Petrucci, around the same time as Jack Miller crashed out from 15th. Crutchlow then took another, taking advantage of a Pol error at turn one. Rossi was starting to close up on Pedrosa, setting consistent fastest laps to reel the Spaniard in. Marquez recovered from a little wobble to close back up to Lorenzo. Rossi took a few more laps to take third, taking the position on lap 18. Marquez continued to wobble slightly in the chase at Lorenzo, but still managing to maintain his speed.
The rain flags came out on lap 21 - not that it seemed to knock anyone's pace. Pedrosa closed the gap again to Rossi, taking a couple of looks at the Doctor before taking third back on lap 24, until Rossi reclaimed it later in the lap when Pedrosa ran wide. Marquez took the lead on lap 25, diving down the inside at turn one, making it stick into turn two. Marquez won the drag race down the pit straight at the end of the lap, opening up a bit of a gap to Lorenzo, but with the bike wobbling underneath him. Smith had closed right up to Iannone for fifth. Pedrosa regained third from Rossi on the penultimate lap, but Rossi took it back on the last.
Marquez took the flag, with Lorenzo looking like he'd gone 12 heavyweight rounds. Iannone held onto fifth ahead of Smith, and Pol took seventh ahead of Crutchlow. Hector Barbera was the top open class bike, claiming the last point in 15th.
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||41:55.371||25|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||+0.688||20|
|3||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||+5.966||16|
|4||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||+6.147||13|
|6||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||+21.751||10|
|7||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3 Yamaha||+30.378||9|
|8||Cal Crutchlow||CWM LCR Honda||+31.607||8|
|10||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||+34.517||6|
|11||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki Ecstar||+39.010||5|
|12||Yonny Hernandez||Pramac Ducati||+41.815||4|
|13||Scott Redding||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS||+50.209||3|
|14||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki Ecstar||+1:00.465||2|
|15||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||+1:04.147||1|
Damage limitation for the GOAT then, losing just four points to Lorenzo. Marquez continues to chip away at the lead, but it will take something catastrophic to happen to the Yamahas to truly bring him back into contention.
|MotoGP Championship Top 5|
|1||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||195||16|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||186||20|
|3||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||139||25|
|5||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||97||10|
Ride Of The Day
A good, commanding performance from Marc Marquez. He always looked in control of his bike, even for the long periods Lorenzo led the race. The Moto2 race was superb too, and Alex Rins looked like a seasoned veteran in winning. However, in what was a crazy, mashed up race, with so many distractions, ride of the day goes to Moto3 winner Livio Loi. He looks about 10 years old, but he showed some fantastic maturity to keep his head and bring it home. Plus it was an inspired decision to start on the slick tyres.
Next Time Out
We've got a quick turnaround this week, as there's just a seven day wait for round 11 at Brno. I'm very excited.