I didn’t think I would ever admit it after that delayed start but like everybody else I need a breather and a lie down in a darkened room after the most incredible start to a season in the 71 year history of grand prix racing.
For the last four decades I have often written and spoken about ‘The Changing of the Guard’ after the first few races of a new season. New grand prix winners arrived; new manufactures stood on the top step of the podium while old champions started to fade but never has so much happened in such a short space of time. The new statistics after five breath taking encounters have just poured out in bucket loads of drama, excitement and incident.
I remember enthusing about Jarno Saarinen when he won those first two rounds of the 1973 World 500cc Championship before his tragic death. I wrote about those first grand prix wins for the likes of Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Kevin Schwantz, Max Biaggi and Kenny Roberts Junior at the first rounds of the season. All apart from the unlucky Biaggi they went on to become World 500 cc Champions, but this season has eclipsed anything we have witnessed previously.
Who would have dared to believe what lay head when the season tentatively got underway behind closed doors in Jerez last month.
Eleven different riders have finished on the podium with four separate race winners. Brad Binder was a Rookie winner in just his third MotoGP race at Brno. Three of the four race winners Fabio Quartararo, Binder and Miguel Oliveira won their first premier class grands prix. Binder and Oliveira brought South Africa and Portugal their first ever premier class victories. Apart from first Austrian winner Andrea Dovizioso the three other winners have started less than 25 MotoGP races and are under the age of 26 years old. Franco Morbidelli and Joan Mir took their first MotoGP podium finishes.
KTM became the newest Manufacturer to stand on the top step of the podium not once but twice while Honda since their return to grand prix racing way back in 1982 have not yet finished on the podium. The record books did not escape being ripped up in Qualifying either. There have been four different pole setters. They included Pol Espargaro who gave himself and KTM their first pole position. Yamaha and Ducati were the other two pole setters. Ten different riders have filled the five front rows with 30-year-old Johann Zarco the oldest.
In those cold dark days of March and April I began to fear that we might not witness a single MotoGP race this year. Instead through the sheer hard work, foresight and tolerance of everybody involved in this sport we have been treated to a truly memorable five grands prix. What lies ahead I have no idea, but I need that lie down before it kicks off once again in Misano.