Not that long back most spectators of MotoGP used to tune in just to watch Valentino Rossi’s antics. Although Rossi will most probably always remain a firm favourite time has moved on and with his change to Ducati and the rise of new and not so new blood the field of play has changed somewhat. MotoGP will always remain a most watched sport but when your winner starts taking a back seat fans start looking elsewhere to get their adrenaline rush. I’m a big fan of Italian and Spanish riders, only because they always come across as so passionate about the sport. American riders on the other hand may very well be born with the silver spoon, or golden spoon – finance never seems to be a problem which possibly plays negatively against their own talents. We have seen some phenomenal riders from the UK, US, Japan and Australia but, well for me the Italianos always hold me enthralled. Casey Stoner seems to have changed this – the thorn in everyone’s side, until the media statement about his impending retirement after the 2012 season. He now has a young child – a dangerous sport and having children don’t gel. It’s a gutsy decision but one we must respect even if he goes over to V8s. Pity, because now where’s the competition outside Spain and Italy again?
Currently the 2012 standing is as follows, with Jorge Lorenzo sitting on 90 points, Rossi in the middle sits on 42 points, Casey Stoner on 82 points. Cal Crutchlow, Brit and steamed up seems like a very likely contender to take Stoner’s position outside the Italian/Spanish ring – he has performed just short of miraculously and a non-factory rider to boot. At one stage I thought Ben Spies was a very likely candidate but sadly this is not to be. Nicky Hayden has also dropped back somewhat and from his world championship win in 2006 just seems to lack that sparkle that Lorenzo gives, race to race. I put this down to the bike and handling – Ducati just don’t seem to be cutting it when it comes to handling and grip. We all want to back a winner and right now, outisde the Spanish/Italian camp Crutchlow may be the man. Yamaha is a good choice and this may be the chance he deserves.
1 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 90
2 Casey STONER Honda AUS 82
3 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 65
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 45
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Yamaha ITA 44
6 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 42
7 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 35
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda SPA 35
9 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 33
10 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 26
I like the fact that our top ten shows one German, One North American, One Brit and one Australian. I’d like to see a German or Brit on the Podium at Catalunya on the 3rd June, my fingers are crossed for Cal, last year’s “rookie of the year”.
With regards to the Constructor class, Ducati sitting in 3rd position is a hard to believe fact. Many fans of MotoGP had visions of Ducati moving up a slot when Rossie moved over but this has not proven to be the case. Again, this week-end prior to the Catalunya race both Hayden and Rossi have complained about the bike just not being very fast. It wasn’t that long back where Ducati seemed to have just about the fastest bikes in the pack and albeit for the ‘beast-like’ handling had the legs on the straights. It no longer is the case. Yamaha may not have had the legs over Honda but it had the handling. Ducati has neither at present. Maybe, juust maybe it needs the madness of Bayliss or one of my old favourite’s, Capirossi. In a press release Capirossi said that Ducati just did not have the time. The Desmosedici motor had the power but lacked something. I’m in agreement – is it lateral thinking? Yamaha and Honda have this in spades. The Ducati technical team have the experience but from an armchair racer’s point of view, are not in the same ranking as Rossi and Hayden’s capabilities. I feel sorry for the two riders – they have the ignition but no traction. But I am not a pessimist – Ducati is going to come out tops. With that in mind also bear a thought for BMW. BMW are also on the verge of releasing a MotoGP bike and this will be something to behold. A German top constructor and rider? I betch’a. See here http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2012/bmw+talks+motogp+racing