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2019 banter & Silly season thread for MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3

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Re: 2019 banter & Silly season thread for MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3

Post by kals » 11 months ago

Latest post of the previous page:

Fellon was Zarco's friend and mentor, trusted with putting the rider on the best path for his career while Zarco did what he needed to do on the track. Fellon's actions after signing Zarco to KTM destroyed both of their credibility and also their relationship. Maybe Zarco should have had more knowledge and control over what his manager was doing, yet on the surface it looks like he was a somewhat innocent victim.

As for the second Honda. Cal Crutchlow would be a suitable temporary candidate. Pol is signed long term to KTM and is doing well. Aleix on the other hand is getting impatient with Aprilia, so perhaps an option for Honda longer term?

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Post by kals » 11 months ago

A KTM on the front row at Misano. Impressive.

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Post by John » 11 months ago

kals wrote:
11 months ago
A KTM on the front row at Misano. Impressive.
I for one welcome our new Austrian overlords.
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Post by kals » 11 months ago

Iannone won’t be racing.

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Post by John » 11 months ago

The Moto3 race is an absolute mess. 9 separate crashes in the first four laps.
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Post by Vassago » 11 months ago

They resurfaced Misano and it actually became slower. But just a ton of crashes this weekend, Niki Tuuli suffered a broken thigh bone, Schroeter & Can Oncu broken clavicles, Fenati a broken wrist and the list goes on & on.

Tatsuki Suzuki wins Moto3, quite an emotional one there.
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Post by John » 11 months ago

Wouldn't be too surprised if Fernandez gets stripped of his win.
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Post by erwin greven » 11 months ago

me neither... Time penalty.

Edit: No penalty.
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Post by Vassago » 11 months ago

It was a typical block-pass. Nothing to see here. Happens all the time in bike racing.
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Post by John » 11 months ago

Vassago wrote:
11 months ago
It was a typical block-pass. Nothing to see here. Happens all the time in bike racing.
I was referring to running outside the track limits to get the line in order to set up for the pass.

Marquez wins at Misano. You almost knew it was a given.
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Post by Vassago » 11 months ago

Marquez took Quartararo to school on the last lap. Talk about making the difference. Yamahas finish 2nd to 5th on their strongest weekend of the season but they can't get that W.
John wrote:
11 months ago
Vassago wrote:
11 months ago
It was a typical block-pass. Nothing to see here. Happens all the time in bike racing.
I was referring to running outside the track limits to get the line in order to set up for the pass.

Marquez wins at Misano. You almost knew it was a given.
Neah, Marquez winning a given is Austin & Sachsenring :tongue:
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Post by John » 11 months ago

Vassago wrote:
11 months ago
Marquez took Quartararo to school on the last lap. Talk about making the difference. Yamahas finish 2nd to 5th on their strongest weekend of the season but they can't get that W.
John wrote:
11 months ago
Vassago wrote:
11 months ago
It was a typical block-pass. Nothing to see here. Happens all the time in bike racing.
I was referring to running outside the track limits to get the line in order to set up for the pass.

Marquez wins at Misano. You almost knew it was a given.
Neah, Marquez winning a given is Austin & Sachsenring :tongue:
Ah I phrased myself poorly. Watching the race unfold I had that feeling that there was simply no way that MM would drop the race if he got by Fabio. You'd wonder what went through his head with three laps to go and had the greatest racer of his generation beginning to turn the screws on him.

Another brilliant weekend for Lorenzo too who I'm sure is really starting to regret walking out of Ducati.
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Post by kals » 10 months ago

This is more 2021 speculation than anything else, yet the point of the article is that there are multiple examples of Aprilia mismanaging it’s talent and resources and having learnt little to nothing while lacking progress, it could cost them their best asset. And where will that leave them then?
We are now one month on from the shock announcement that Johann Zarco will be cutting short his tenure at KTM amid a woeful campaign on the RC16, but we are still no closer to knowing who his replacement will be for the 2020 MotoGP season.

During the Misano round, KTM boss Mike Leitner confirmed the man originally ousted to make way for Zarco - current Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith - is a serious option. Smith is "very keen" for the move, even if no official contact has allegedly been made.

Smith stepped over to Aprilia this year as its official test rider on a two-year deal: a real coup for the tiny marque, whose ethos currently goes against that of its rivals as it shuns a satellite operation in favour of a rock-solid test team.

Losing Smith as Aprilia gets set for what its racing manager Romano Albesiano has promised will be a "revolution" for the RS-GP in 2020 would be a blow.

But the effects of this will pale in comparison to the loss of its loyal spearhead Aleix Espargaro at the end of his current two-year deal - something that may have taken a step closer to happening at the recent Misano test and race weekend.

Aprilia's first radical step with its RS-GP last year backfired horribly. It rotated its engine within its chassis in an attempt at better mass-centralisation, but it robbed the bike of its key strength of cornering.

Espargaro knew the bike was bad news from the winter and pleaded with Aprilia to let him revert to the 2017 version after testing it with positive results mid-season. Aprilia refused, but it did eventually offer up the compromise of a hybrid '17/18/19 bike. He used this to secure the team's only top six of the year at Aragon, finishing just over seven seconds from the win.

Without Espargaro, Aprilia may never have engineered its way out of the quagmire it had found itself in. It's baffling that with very little progress made with the bike this year - with Espargaro sitting on 37 points in a season with just two top 10s - it opted against bringing any updates to a recent test at Misano, in which the likes of Yamaha, Honda and KTM rolled out 2020 prototypes.

Espargaro was understandably aggrieved by this: "Obviously it's a little bit frustrating because everybody had a lot of new things to try, and looking at our situation I was expecting something like this because if there is somebody who needs to improve the bike more than anyone it's Aprilia.

"It was not the case. I gave my best with the material I had at the test, but it was the limit. On the second day I crashed two times trying to go over [our limit] and I couldn't [do any more]."

Albesiano countered Espargaro's claims when they were put to him during Dorna's live feed of Misano practice, stating: "We actually have a lot of new parts for the race, for here. We continuously bring new parts.

"Some of them are effective, some others are not, but there is a continuous flow of new parts for testing for the riders."

"Check my bike, if you can spot something different, let me know," responded Espargaro when Albesiano's quotes were put to him.

Albesiano's comments are also somewhat at odds with those Smith made about the project when asked by Autosport.

"Aprilia understood that we needed a bigger overhaul than just finetuning for 2020, and that means because we are a small company, we need a little bit more time than anyone else," said Smith.

"As a company, we decided to focus all our efforts on 2020, which means things haven't come as early as expected, which means 2019 upgrades haven't come as expected."

Operating with around 70 staff at its base, Aprilia is by far MotoGP's smallest outfit. Its premier class history is chequered. It achieved a third-place finish courtesy of the late Doriano Romboni at Assen in 1997 on an underpowered RSW-2 500, before pulling out at the end of the 2000 season having only entered the premier class in 1994 (taking a year out in '98).

Its RS Cube MotoGP challenger of 2002-04 was ambitious, running then-unproven ride-by-wire throttle technology and a mad three-cylinder 990cc engine with pneumatic valves. The bike was a beast, with Colin Edwards - who somehow coaxed a sixth-place out of it in his first race in Japan in '03 - famously remarking that the RS Cube was "born bad".

Up against the established might of Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, and the rise of Suzuki and KTM, Aprilia's hopes of becoming a true frontrunner already look remote.

But that hasn't stifled ambition, as noted by the arrival of ex-Ferrari Formula 1 sporting director Massimo Rivola (a key figure in rearing Ferrari's newest star Charles Leclerc in its young driver programme in recent years) as CEO at the start of the year.

Espargaro is also extremely loyal to the cause, stating in the same media debrief in which he lambasted Aprilia's lack of progress that he "100%" believes he can fight at the front in MotoGP with a competitive package and doesn't want that to be with anyone other than Aprilia. He is also acutely aware of his worth to the team.

When asked what the impact of Smith's potential return to KTM would be to Aprilia, he replied: "I said from the beginning that I am happy with the job Bradley [has done], because he is a rider with a lot of experience, a fast rider.

"But in the end, those achieving the results for the team are the factory riders and I think over the last three years the most important rider in Aprilia is me. So, I think if I leave it's a bigger problem than the test rider [leaving]."

It would be easy to pass this comment off as nothing more than egotistical. On the face of it, the 30-year-old's grand prix career statistics would earn him no more than the status of a journeyman: a solid, unspectacular campaigner. A sole Moto2 podium in 2011 with the Pons team - which would take his younger brother Pol to the title two years later - and a second-place finish in a wet Aragon MotoGP race in '14 on the Forward Yamaha are the highpoints.

But examine his career tapestry closer, and distinction reveals itself. Last month, Alex Rins beat Marc Marquez to a stunning British Grand Prix victory by 0.013 seconds, tallying up Suzuki's first brace of wins in a premier class season since 2000. Last year the marque took nine podiums between Rins and Espargaro's current Aprilia team-mate Andrea Iannone - its largest haul in a single season in the MotoGP era.

These are feats Suzuki wouldn't have achieved without the exceptional development groundwork Espargaro shouldered across its return campaign in 2015 and '16 following a financially-induced hiatus between 2012-14, which put it in a position to win for the first time in a decade at Silverstone in '16 with Maverick Vinales.

That it elected to replace Espargaro with Iannone was a cruel decision, and one it paid for dearly when Iannone selected the wrong engine in the 2017 pre-season, which ultimately stunted its growth by a year.

Meanwhile, Aprilia had gained the services of Espargaro, who showed his worth in the season-opening Qatar race by equalling its previous best MotoGP result of sixth and crossing the line just 7.6s from the victory.

This was 34.3s quicker than it managed at the same race a year prior - its first 'real' race, having returned to the series in 2015 with a glorified Superbike.

Three years on from his Aprilia debut, Espargaro's once unshakeable belief in the project is now beginning to wane.

The perpetually positive Spaniard has never been one for heat-of-the-moment words, so for him to say he is losing his "passion", and admitting he will "see other options" for 2021 if Aprilia fails to make steps forward that matches his efforts, should not be ignored. Albesiano publicly disputing Espargaro's claims also hints towards a tense internal situation at Aprilia - and perhaps stubbornness.

After all, this is a team that got rid of the solid Alvaro Bautista at the end of 2016 when he had done a similarly decent job to the one Espargaro has been doing in developing the bike. A smarter strategy would have been to reinforce Espargaro with Bautista.

It gave obvious talents in Sam Lowes and Scott Redding no time at all to adapt to the RS-GP before kicking them to the kerb in 2017 and '18, and is now running the risk of alienating arguably Aprilia's most committed recruit by hedging all bets on a radically different 2020 bike without seemingly laying any groundwork in the meantime.

And without massive gains, Aprilia will struggle to lure top talent to its fold. Iannone has already proved at Ducati and Suzuki that he doesn't have the necessary capacity to take on the role of team leader and bike developer.

The 2021 campaign may be some way off and it's easy to argue that Espargaro is simply displaying impatience. But next year's contract cycle is set to be MotoGP's busiest and most deals will be decided after only a handful of races.

This gives Aprilia a very small window in which to vindicate Espargaro's commitment to the project - considering he would be a very handsome prospect for a satellite team looking for a safe pair of hands. Smith is correct when he says for Aprilia "to move forward in this game we need to bring something new, it needs to be a revolution".

But revolutions only succeed with the right leader in place, and with its loyalist beginning to lose motivation at a lack of current progress, Aprilia's great leap forward risks crumbling into oblivion if it fails to appease the only person currently making it look credible in MotoGP.

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Post by kals » 10 months ago

Zarco has been dropped from KTM with immediate effect. Fuck. Sad story for him. What a cluster.

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Post by John » 10 months ago

Aprilia is such a mess. They seems to lack direction, the in-house talent and a solid plan for where to go next. When you're a team that small, you really need to make the most of the extra test days they receive. But they're obviously not. It's where careers go to either die off (like Iannone) or where they go to get fucking axe murdered (Lowes and Aleix). Smith obviously doesn't want to say anything stupid and risk his only shot at a race deal.

As for Zarco, yeah what a sad story. I think everyone was thrilled of the stuff he did on the satellite Yamaha until everything went sour. He clearly has the talent and would probably do a better job on the Repsol bike than JLo. I hope he finds a ride and a place where he can perform, if he still wants it, that is. I had a bad feeling in my gut when his KTM move was announced.
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Post by kals » 10 months ago

Unfortunately for Zarco bridges have been burned for him by Fellon. Case is point was the conversation he tried having with Alberto Puig about the potentially open Honda seat should Lorenzo quit at the end of the year. It's a sad story for such a talent. Fingers crossed it has a happy ending for him.

Aprilia are just plain confusing. Their treatment of riders has been abysmal (Lowes, Redding, Melandri...), the development and progress non-existent, yet we all want them to be successful. I hope Fausto Gresini is getting a nice sized cheque from Aprilia to compensate turning a once front running title contending Honda privateer into a tail ender with little prospects with a disappointing reputation.

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