Wednesday, October 13, 2021

MotoGP’s Austin Autumn Harvest

Where thou King of COTA continued his Reign…


So it’s pretty weird to know that MotoGP just came Stateside for the first time in a Gory 903 Days! Having last raced on April 14, 2019 at Circuit Of The Americas, nee COTA,. Making  it’s Debutante Fall outing this October 3rd vs. it’s traditional April calendar date after essentially a two and a half year’s absence.


Obviously much has changed since the world’s preeminent Ash-fault’ Kneedraggers attacked COTA’s “lumpy” tarmac Wayback then.


As it was somewhat Funny hearing The Voice of IndyCar’s Leigh Diffey doing the Pre and Post Race reporting live from COTA, so may be that’s really why IndyCar Quit Thar season so early this year? But it was nice hearing him talk briefly to Kevin Schwanz along with his Mate from Down Under.


Won’t even attempt giving a rundown on everythingy’ that’s changed, other than to say some Old Faces were in New places, notably in the Yamahopper’ ranks.


As Thee Doctor’, nee Valentino Rossi at Age 42 made his Swan Song MotoGP outing Stateside upon the Satellite SRT Petronas Yamaha outfit. Where somewhat strangely, past Ducati rival Dovi’,, aka Andrea Dovizioso partnered him.


As Dovi’ returns from the Wild in preparations to return Fulltime in 2022 whilst Rossi retires at season’s end.


And although this year’s two MotoGP Championship protagonists occupied the grid’s first two places, with Ducati’s Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia on Pole ahead of Yamaha Points leader Fabio Quartararo, All eyes were upon that “Masked Man” in P3.


And for good reason, as Thee Pinball Wizard, nee Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez sublimely Shot past his front Row competitors, led into Turn 1 and never looked back, Nor relinquished the lead!


As I must admit it was a pretty Dull race  with Marquez stretching his lead each lap, whilst Quartararo was quite content to sit in second, since he was only interested in increasing his large points lead to speed up his coronation as this year’s MotoGP World Champion. As Mission Accomplished as he ultimately added another four points to his lead, now 52 markers Ahead of Bagnaia.


AS the two biggest “Story lines” of the race, or most interesting during the fairly processional event were the battle for who’d ultimately take the Podium’s final step, along with how would Ducati corse Factory Rider whom the TV Pundits call Thriller Miller, aka Jack Miller perform after his disappointing Qualie’ outing.


As Miller had appeared to be the only rider able to match times with Marc Marquez during the practice sessions, with the Spaniard claiming the Aussie’ was still his biggest “Threat” in the race.


Miller made what ultimately was the wrong decision by making a late grid change to be the only rider on Michelin’s Hard compound in an attempt to help his chances of progressing forward from his “lowly” 10th place starting position.


Miller made it as far towards the Sharp end as P4 before his tyres faded, and he politely let Ducati team-mate Bagnaia by in order for the Italian to take his turn at attacking those ahead, especially since Pecco’ needed to somehow rebound from dropping rearwards at the start and somehow magically pass Quartararo.


Yet the final podium place should have gone to the Duc’ Pramac Racing Satellite rider Rookie Jorge Martin, who ran a great  race withstanding massive pressure from first Suzuki’s Alex Rins, then Miller and finally Bagnaia!


But it wasn’t to be, as the young Spanish Phenom finally Cracked unper this relentless onslaught, first running wide somewhere to see his nearly two second gap over Bagnaia basically disappear. Then Martin was penalized for a Track limits violation and given a Long-lap penalty, effectively handing the podium spot over to Bagnaia, who passed him Ontrack before Martin reluctantly served his penalty. As Martin’s delay would cost him a further position to rins and ultimately wind up a dejected fifth.


Meanwhile, it’s now obvious that Father Time has firmly caught up with the Ageless Valentino Rossi, who came home a quiet P15. While it was another Italian Youngster instead who impressed me. As Rookie Tnea Bastianini, who’s riding on a two year old Ducati for Sky 46 Esponsorama Racing, starting 16th came home an impressive sixth. One place ahead of eventual finishers Miller and Suzuki’s Joan Mir, the reigning MotoGP Champion who collided on the final lap.


Taking Nothing away from Marquez, who claimed his seventh out of eight victories at Circuit Of The Americas, with the TV Pundits firmly proclaiming the King of COTA had regained his Crown. I’ve heard somewhere that this was one of the three race circuits Marquez had circled as his best opportunities for winning. With All three circuits being Anti Clockwise, since he’s stil trying to recover from his Mega Accident in 2020 that severly damaged his right arm, which apparently still isn’t at 100% Fitness…


As Marquez won at the first track on his list, the Sachsenring in Germany, and now has claimed his second victory of the season at COTA. Where the Werks’ Honda’s Horsepower seems to enjoy stretching it’s legs in the Lonestar State.


But reportedly Quartararo was almost as Happy as Marquez on the podium with his runner-up finish, since he’s now securely got one hand upon the title, wwith just three rounds remaining. While Bagnaia in third probably just looked on in dismay?