nothing can really rival the the spectacle that is motogp… except the women of andalusia. jorge must’ve found it very difficult to focus with that chica guapa at his side. i know i would!!! i’ll (gladly) have to do a post on all the team’s grid girls one of these days.
see what i mean??? on to my assessment of jerez…
despite competing with the 2007 engine, the repsol hondas looked comfortable at the tight and twisty jerez circuit. priority numero uno for honda was handling. in fact, they flew in new frames (developed with data from the qatar race) just for this race. power was an afterthought as they continued to run with the conventional, underpowered spring-valve engine. honda look to have perfected the rc212v’s electronics and chassis as dani handily won while nicky came in a respectable fourth position (10th in qatar).
pedrosa is technically one of the best riders in the paddock and this race was proof of his skill. in essence, he was at one with the bike and he made it look easy from start to finish. like qatar, he got a fantastic start, took the lead going into the first corner, and never looked back. that’s his style.
his teammate is quite the opposite. hayden is a scrapper. he prefers minimal traction control and instead wrings the bike, exiting corners sideways with wisps of smoke coming from the rear tire. that’s his style – loose and on the knife edge. in fact, he pulled an “edwards” almost tucking the front end at turn 1 but using his elbow to right himself.
honda must have it’s hands full having two riders with opposite riding styles.
pedrosa will be a title contender this year. he’s currently leading the championship and looks consistent. he also looks like he’s enjoying himself which is surprising.
expect to see a see a big jump in the rc212v’s performance once the pneumatic-valve engine is unleashed allegedly for the chinese gp.
2008 is a year of learning for both fiat yamaha riders. it’s the first year valentino is riding on bridgestones and jorge on an 800cc machine and they’re both getting on with it pretty well.
rossi is considered to be a few races behind the paddock due to his switch to japanese rubber but his performance hasn’t been hindered. he’s third in the championship at the moment but, more importantly, the yamaha appears more competitive. rossi on bridgestone is one less variable that separates his bike from stoner’s. furthermore, the m1’s pneumatic-valve engine looks to be on equal ground with the gp8’s desmo system even though it wasn’t all too necessary at jerez. though, it never hurts to be fastest down the chute as they were last weekend.
to the paddock’s suprise (as well as mine), jorge lorenzo has quickly adapted to the m1 finishing on the podium in both races. i knew he was going to be fast but i didn’t think he was going to be THIS fast. the yamaha/michelin package looks like an “easy” package to ride as fellow rookie james toseland is riding well with a similar bike.
ducati stuggled this weekend. like the year before, jerez, for some reason, is their “bogey track.” stoner finished in a dismal 11th after running off the track two times while teammate melandri floundered at the back of the grid. the gp8 is one mean machine and it reminds me of aprilia’s failed rs^3. let’s see, both are:
- extremely difficult to ride (colin edwards said that the rs^3 was “born bad”)
- implemented a lot of electronics/traction control to manage the engine
- considered most powerful bike in paddock
with the gp8, when it’s “on” it’s (qatar) it’s on. when it’s “off” or even not fully “on,” it’s a more than handful (no, not that kind…).
melandri is catching a lot of heat from the factory and there are rumors that he may be sacked if he doesn’t pick up the pace. the question is, who in their right mind would want to ride this beast?
tech 3 yamaha
herve poncharal, team boss of the satellite yamaha team, must be ecstatic with the start of the season. it’s been a long time since they’ve been competitive. the past two years, they were experimenting with dunlop and they were way off the pace. this year, they made the switch to michelin and picked up two very competent riders on the team. the only thing missing is the more powerful pneumatic-valve engine which they expect to run next race in estoril.
toseland looks confident on the m1. like lorenzo, he’s adapting well and his results are proof. he rides with chip on his shoulder and is willing to mix it up with the veterans.
edwards, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have the drive that he used to have. having qualified on the front row in both races, he knows how to set up the bike. but when it comes to the race, he just can’t keep up and gets dropped to midpack or crashes out.
ironic, that jir/scot aka konica-minolta is doing so well this year. the past two years were atrocious. new management and new rider have revitalized this team and they are currently the best satellite honda on the grid. dovi’s all-or-nothing attitude is apparent and like, hayden, he rides his 2007 rc211v past its limit. get him on factory equipment, and he’ll be challenging for podiums if not wins.
i don’t want to even get into san marco-gresini or lcr…
all that can be said is that the alice gp8’s are “off.” elias and guintoli are riding raging bulls rather than thoroughbred race horses.
next weekend is estoril which should either provide answers or generate more questions (call me capt obvious). i just hope racing is a little closer.