Aspiring MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales will chase the field in 2015 upon the Suzuki GSX-RR. (Image source: gsxr.es)
Did I really get up at thee crack 'O dawn in order to sit in the DARK and listen to the sound of "Thumpers" prattling 'bout the LoSail International Circuit just a week ago?
Hmm? Thank You Very Little FOX! As now I know where Robby "Purple" Floyd went, as imagine my SURPRISE when at 6AM Pacific the Amsoil Arenacross series began airing on FS1 instead of MotoGP, which I'd need to wait a further 36hrs to watch; SHEISA!
As have Y'all noticed the relative lack 'O media coverage for MotoGP? As my GO-2' website Racer.com unceremoniously dumped its MotoGP section in favour of the Mazda Road To Indy this year; but I digress...
As the final Pre-season practice in Qatar was rained out, which surprisingly left the Ducs' (Ducati) leading the time sheets, whilst NO Rubber Duckies liking rain jokes here; Hya! As ironically I'm sittin' thru a thunderstorm in the good 'Ol Pacific Northwest as I finish scribblin' this...
As who knows if the testing times will hold up in the Desert? As that will be the $64,000 Questione!
2015 SEASON BEGINS...
While Americre' is currently wrapped in 'RASSCAR Fever, the lights have gone green upon the 2015 MotoGP season, as Qatar's floodlit LoSail International Circuit's premiere motorcycle racers began awash with the hopes of being victorious... But really, can anybody dethrone the mercurial reigning Double World Champion Marc Marquez?
As the 22yr old Spaniard served notice of his intentions by topping the FP1 (Free Practice) time sheets Thursday night ahead of his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, as shockingly the two "Aliens" (riders) reached terminal velocities of 344 and 347kph respectively! As that's an astounding 215.5mph for Pedrosa and 213.6mph for Marquez, who bested Pedrosa by a scant +0.076sw with his overall lap time of 1m 55.281s.
Surprisingly Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro was P3 ahead of Movistar Yamaha's George Lorenzo and CWM LCR's Satellite Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, as all of the Factory MotoGP Scooters top speeds were between 338-347kph; SHEISA!
Yet it wasn't all good news at LoSail, as Aspar's title sponsor Drive M7 abruptly quit the team just day's prior to the Qatar race, which Aspar team principal Jorge Martínez divulged scant hour's prior to the season opening race weekend commencing, leaving lone American rider Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty's Open class Honda's devoid of the requisite sponsorship 'Deckle's, (decals) which hopefully will be rectified prior to the second round in Austin, April 12th.
As "The Kentucky Kid" (Hayden) languished in 21st, 1.7-seconds adrift of Marquez's blistering opening pace. (Thursday) And obviously Nicky & Co. will want to have a new sponsor for his home race. With NO word if the Malaysian Drinks company's switch to be the title sponsor for the Sepang Moto3 racing team was the catalyst for this abrupt breaking of its contract with Aspar?
Also, LCR-Honda's title sponsor CWM, a London based 4X Trading Company was recently raided by authorities, with 13-people arrested over fraud allegations. As the team says it's still got a valid contract with them, but will monitor the situation...
And as typical, lap times aren't dictated solely by top speed, as interestingly the two Suzuki's had the second and fourth slowest trap speeds overall during FP2, i.e.; Aleix Espargaro 330kph and Maverick Viñales 333kph respectively. Yet Espargaro jumped to fourth quickest in FP3 when running a "sedate" 331kph - ahead of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and "the Doctor" (Valentino Rossi) to name just a few! Whilst Viñales was 13th and Nicky Hayden was P16, the last rider less than one second adrift of Marquez. (During FP2...)
Of course, Fox Sports-1 coverage is pretty miniscule, when its actually ON THE AIR! Giving just a scant 60nins total airtime to the event - perceivably at thy crack 'O Dawn with apparently NO replays; since after all, 47hrs daily of FOX Sports "live" is more important; Oh Brother!
Alas, unable to wait 'til 6AM Pacific; PSYCHE! Which better be the race DAMMIT FOX! (WRONG AGAIN...) I broke down and visited my new de facto MotoGP news website Crash.net to find out who was on Pole the day prior...
HOLY FLYING DUCS' BATMAN!
Obviously being very surprised by the Ducati of 'DOVY, nee Andrea Dovizioso claiming Pole ahead of the A-L-L Conquering Repsol Honda's. Although suppose this shouldn't have been a total surprise, after all the Ducs' were fast in Pre-season practice. Yet three Ducati's in the Top-6 is Very Interesting," right Elmer? (Fudd)
And now I know why I should NEVER try blogging 'bout TV Air Times! As I was Dumbfounded when sleepy-eyed finding out that I'd ARSE-sumed WRONG again when the elite MotoGP season opening race would be on thy Telescreen; SHEISA!
Thus sitting down Monday night, again at 6PM Pacific, a very short opening segment with Bob Varsha recapped the preceding 'Qualie session results, along with naming who was on what. As 'Qualie saw Marquez a somewhat uncharacteristic P3, behind both Dovizioso and Pedrosa.
Yet even more uncharacteristic was Marquez running "Wide" at the first turn on Lap-1 - going Off course and dropping to stone last! While the Factory Ducs battled supreme vs. Yamaha's George Lorenzo who spent much time at the front of the queue.
As lead MotoGP announcer Nick Harris had much trouble spitting out the un-surreal speed the Ducati of DOVY was traveling; claiming an unheard of terminal velocity of 356kph; UNBELIEVEABLE!
Although Harris was incorrect in his assessment, hence probably why his fumbling over the speed, which was probably just a "lowly" 346kph instead, eh?
And Varsha later noted how the Ducati's were the only bikes with trick front wings (canards) on them, perhaps to help with this unbelievable speed, i.e.; Andrea Iannone's earlier recorded 346kph. (214.866mph) While Harris further commenting that Marquez Honda was sailing along at 218mph; SHEISA! During his attempt to catch up to the leading quartet...
Yet I later read in multiple stories that Marc Marquez was credited with setting the quickest ever recorded speed in MotoGP when clocking an astounding 350.3kph! Which as "Professor (Steve) Matchett" would say in "Old Money" translates to 217.66mph; Crikeys Mates!
As a quartet 'O riders broke away from the ensuing pack, although not the expected Hondre's vs. Yamaha's, but instead, those amazingly powerful Ducati's, with Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone giving chase to Lorenzo, who'd taken over the lead.
Then Dovizioso and Lorenzo engaged in a magnificent duel for the lead, with 'DOVY slipstreaming past the Yamaha only to run wide in the first corner and hand the lead back to Lorenzo, lap-after-lap! All the while with "The Doctor," nee Valentino Rossi zeroing in on third place Iannone after having started from P8.
Then after Dovizioso had taken the lead once again, Rossi joined the fracas, as the two Italian's battled Hammer 'N Tongs for overall supremacy, whilst Lorenzo faded to fourth. As Rossi, knowing he needed to establish a measurable gap over the more powerful Ducati of DOVY, managed to pull ahead just enough to eke out victory by a scant 0.017+ seconds for his 83rd B-I-G' BIKES victory, all the while as I was chanting DOVY-DOVY-DOVY!
As the 36yr old Italian Rossi utilized his strategy of "harder" front tyre to his advantage to show his Country's Young Lions who was BOSS of the All Italian podium, with Dovizioso finishing runner-up ahead of team-mate Iannone.
Valentino's Movistar team-mate Lorenzo bested Marquez for fourth place, with Marquez's team-ate Pedrosa finishing P6 ahead of the top Satellite rider Cal Crutchlow in seventh, as another Honda rider, "The Kentucky Kid" *Nicky Hayden) finished a distant 17th, albeit on an Open Class Honda while suffering from electronic issues, while the Suzuki's are currently Horsepower deficient...