The Mugello MotoGP round is one of the most magical rounds on the MotoGP calendar. It is also home the home race of the Doctor Valentino Rossi. This will also be the 300th GP start for Rossi. A very impressive number.
Valentino Rossi is the only rider to win a races on the 500 2-Stroke, 990 4-Stroke, 800 4-stroke, and now the 1000cc 4-stroke. Thanks to Matthew Brit from MCN for the great stats. It is expected this weekend that Valentino Rossi will announce a contract extension with Yamaha which will certainly set in motion the contracts for Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa which are pending Rossi’s announcement.
Mugello awaits not only the Valentino Rossi but also the wonder kid Marc Marquez. Having come off a sizzling hot streak of 5 GP wins in a row the question on everyones mind is will he make it 6? If Marquez wins the race on Sunday he will be accepted into an elite 6 race wins in a row club. Club members include Agostini, Hailwood, Surtees, Doohan, and Rossi.
So what are your thoughts? Will Rossi extend his contract with Yamaha and will Marquez make it six in a row? Well the madness starts tomorrow with the first practice session.
Marc Marquez has not only redefined winning he is also redefining the style of riding. Coming into the premier class last year he was the new guy on the block trying to prove a point. He was compared to his Spanish compatriots Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa with many speculating he will need a couple years to get up to speed. However, after winning only his second race in MotoGP during the 2013 season heads quickly turned. Marquez went on to record 5 more wins for the 2013 season including taking home the MotoGP championship.
So where does that leave us now starting the 2014 season? Well Marquez has recorded 4 Pole Positions and 4 Wins in the first 4 races. What the hell? So people started comparing Marquez to the Doctor Valentino Rossi but now after 4 wins in 4 races everyone is running out of people to compare Marquez with. So it is now safe to say Marc Marquez is in a class of his own.
Don’t take our word for it but the riders of MotoGP are starting to change their riding style to match Marquez. When Rossi was on top of the world he started the leg dangle which all the other riders quickly adapted. Now Marquez has started making extreme lean angles a consistent theme in what seems like every corner with his elbow dragging as a signature move. Other riders have dragged elbows but not as consistently as Marquez. With the new tires capable of such high amounts of edge grip more and more riders are taking to the habit. But no one can match the pace of Marquez or can they?
Will Marquez continue his dominance and sweep the 2014 MotoGP season or will Rossi, Pedrosa, or Lorenzo break his streak?
The 2014 MotoGP testing season has kicked off in Sepang today with the Marq Marquez at the sharp end of the results today. The defending champion seemed to find his form quickly while belting out continuos fast laps. Marquez will be a hard fighter in the 2014 season if this is a sign of things to come.
Just behind Marc Marquez was none other than the Doctor Valentino Rossi. Rossi seemed extremely happy with the progress Yamaha made with the M1 in the off season but was quick to point out that his target is still Marquez.
Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top 5. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo say it was a tough beginning due to the winter break and tuning the new package. Wait to see what tomorrow brings with these two.
The surprise of the day came from Open Class rider Aleix Espargaro riding the Yamaha FTR-M1 finishing in a shocking 7th position.
Sepang Day 1 Test Results
Riders in ORANGE are riding Open Class Bikes
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.286s (Lap 52/62) 2. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.804s | +0.518s (58/61) 3. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.906s | +0.620s (73/75) 4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 1.082s | +0.796s (26/47) 5. Alvaro Bautista ESP GoFun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 1.240s | +0.954s (48/52) 6. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 1.320s | +1.034s (10/25) 7. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 1.419s | +1.133s (19/26) 8. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 1.538s | +1.252s (38/44) 9. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.634s | +1.348s (42/48) 10. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.876s | +1.590s (54/55) 11. Colin Edwards USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 2.483s | +2.197s (25/26) 12. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 2.497s | +2.211s (21/27) 13. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 2.552s | +2.266s (47/48) 14. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 2.860s | +2.574s (16/38) 15. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.891s | +2.605s (28/49) 16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 3.126s | +2.840s (14/35) 17. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 3.319s | +3.033s (53/56) 18. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 3.328s | +3.042s (49/51) 19. Randy de Puniet FRA Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 3.893s | +3.607s (47/75) 20. Kosuke Akiyoshi JPN Honda Test Rider 2m 4.267s | +3.981s (27/64) 21. Scott Redding GBR GoFun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 4.431s | +4.145s (41/48) 22. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.922s | +4.636s (34/44) 23. Mike di Meglio FRA Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 5.825s | +5.539s (50/51) 24. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 5.889s | +5.603s (32/40) 25. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 6.070s | +5.784s (14/14) 26. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 6.755s | +6.469s (21/41)
A lot of speculation has been firing around the interweb since the unveiling of the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 this week at Wroom 2013 event in Italy. Since Audi recently acquired Ducati last year the the rumour mill has been glowing red with possible outcomes for the 2013 season. So let’s lay out the facts we do know.
No one has been consistently successful on the Ducati except for Casey Stoner
Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden, and Valentino Rossi have all struggled with the unfriendly Ducati
The Ducati handles great in wet conditions but not in the dry
Not even the great Valentino Rossi could ride the Ducati like Casey Stoner.
So now that Audi has bought one of the most recogonizeable motorcycle brands in the world we expect big changes right? Uh no. The new General Manager of Ducati Corse, Bernhard Gobmeier said
“The challenge that lies ahead is a big one and everybody is curious as to what we are going to do to close the gap to our rivals. We must work in a lot of different areas where we can make the difference. We have already made some positive changes to the team structure, and we have some ideas for the development of the bike. I prefer to speak about evolution rather than revolution and with this in mind first we want to evaluate the material developed in the second half of last year. I think that with this approach we can improve the performance of the bike in the short term but we are also working on new solutions which down the road in 2013 will be implemented into the race bike."
So in other words nothing has changed in the bike presented in Italy this week. The plan is to start changing parts come test time. With the addition of Andrea Dovisozo, Andrea Iannone, and Ben Spies will help the development of the Ducati but it takes time to gather data and build new parts.
Unless Audi has something up their sleeve regarding skunk work development don’t expect miracles the first half of the season. Judging by the pictures released the Ducati is quite bear with sponsors. So why doesn’t Audi have a big logo on the side of the bike unless they want to be successful first before applying the logo?
The Rossi vs Stoner grudge continues even into retirement for Casey Stoner. We thought we heard the last from Casey Stoner when he signed off from MotoGP after the last race of the 2012 season.
Well it appears Stoner couldn’t resist a jab Rossi through during an interview with Dainese about Rossi’s hunger for Victory. Rossi said “Stoner started to hate me just because he lost. After that, he always seemed to talk about the past, this race, because he wasn’t man enough to understand that at that time, he lost!”
Even in Soner’s retirement fishing somewhere in the Outback of Australia he found time to hit back at Rossi on Twitter.