Martin Raines Blog

Austin 2018 – Fast Facts

  • Six different riders have finished on the podium in the first two races of the year – the first time this has occurred since 1977 when the second race of the year in Austria was boycotted by the leading factory riders for safety reasons.
  • The first two riders across the line in in Argentina were both Independent Team riders; the last time this occurred was at the Grand Prix of Turkey in 2006, when Marco Melandri won from Casey Stoner.
  • Championship leader Cal Crutchlow best results in Austin have been 4th place finishes in both 2013 and 2017. He will be aiming to be the first British rider to win back-to-back premier-class GP races since Barry Sheene in 1977. The last Independent Team rider to win back-to-back MotoGP races was Marco Melandri at the final two races of 2005.
  • Marc Marquez riding a Honda has qualified on pole and won all five MotoGP races that have taken place in Austin.
  • The last fourteen MotoGP races in the USA have all been won by Honda riders. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • Honda riders have qualified on pole for the last ten MotoGP races held in the USA. The last non-Honda rider to start from pole at any of the US circuits is Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca in 2012.
  • Honda have won seventeen of the twenty-two premier-class grand prix races that have taken place in the USA in the MotoGP era.
  • After his second place finish in Austin last year Valentino Rossi headed the championship classification for the first time since he arrived at the final race of 2015 at Valencia with a seven-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo.
  • In Argentina Jack Miller became the first Independent Team Ducati rider to start from pole in the MotoGP class. His 4th place finish in Argentina is his best result since his win at the Dutch TT in 2016. Miller won the Moto3 race in Austin in 2014.
  • Andrea Dovizioso’s second place finish in 2015 is the best result for a Ducati at the Austin circuit. Dovizioso was the first Ducati rider across the line last year in Austin in 6th place.
  • At the Argentinian GP Alex Rins took his first podium finish since moving up to the MotoGP class at the start of last year, in just his 15th MotoGP start. Rins has a great record at the Austin circuit, winning the Moto3 race in 2013 and the Moto2 race in 2016. He missed the race in Austin last year due to injury.
  • The first four riders across the line in Argentina rode bikes from four different manufacturers; the last time this happened was at the Australian GP in 2016.
  • Seventeen different rider has finished on the podium across the three classes in the first two GP events of the year. Only Aron Canet in Moto3 has been on the podium at both events.
  • Hafizh Syahrin was the first Rookie across the line in Argentina in ninth place and now heads the Rookie of the Year classification with 9 points from Franco Morbidelli who has 6 points.
  • Yamaha have gone 12 MotoGP races without a win, their longest winless sequence since Honda won the opening 12 races of 2014. The last time that Yamaha went longer than 12 races without a win was the 18 races that included the last two races of 2002 and the 16 races of 2003.

 

By | April 19th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|0 Comments

Grand Prix racing at Austin

  • This is the sixth successive year that a MotoGP event has been held at the Austin circuit.
  • In total, there have been 30 previous Grand Prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 8 and Austin – 5.
  • Marc Marquez has won on each of the nine occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in America; five times at Austin, three times at Indianapolis and at Laguna Seca in 2013.  Only once in these nine appearances in MotoGP in America has Marquez not been on pole; at Laguna Seca in 2013 when he qualified in second place on the grid behind Stefan Bradl.
  • The only riders currently competing in the MotoGP class who have won in the class at any of the American circuits are: Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
  • Honda riders have won the last fourteen MotoGP races in the USA; the last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • Honda riders have qualified on pole for the last ten MotoGP races in the USA. The last non-Honda rider to start from pole at any of the US circuits is Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca in 2012.
  • Prior to last year Ducati had one rider finish on the podium in Austin for three successive years: Andrea Dovizioso was third in 2014 and second in 2015; Andrea Iannone was third in 2016. Last year the first Ducati rider across the line was Dovizioso in sixth place.
  • The second place finishes of Jorge Lorenzo in 2016 and Valentino Rossi last year are the best results for Yamaha at the Austin circuit.
  • After his second place finish in Austin last year Valentino Rossi headed the championship classification for the first time since he arrived at the final race of 2015 at Valencia with a seven point lead over Jorge Lorenzo.
  • Maverick Viñales fourth place finish two years ago is the best result for Suzuki at the Austin circuit.
  • All fifteen podium finishers in the five previous MotoGP races held at Austin have been riders from either Spain of Italy.
  • Eleventh place finisher in Austin last year, Jonas Folger, crossed the line just 18.903 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez – this is the closest top eleven of the MotoGP era.
  • The three riders who finished on the podium in the Moto2 race last year in Austin (Morbidelli, Luthi and Nakagami) have all moved up to race in the MotoGP class in 2018.
  • Three of the five Moto2 race winners in Austin are now competing in the MotoGP class: Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli. Sam Lowes, who won in Austin in 2015, is the only rider currently competing in Moto2 who has won in the class at this circuit.
By | April 18th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|0 Comments

Cal Crutchlow re-writes the record books

Cal Crutchlow’s win in Argentina, that took him to the head of the championship standings, will go down in the record books for many reasons, including:

– Last time a British rider led the premier-class championship was Barry Sheene riding a Suzuki after opening race of 1979 in Venezuela.

– Barry Sheene lost the lead of the championship after next race in Austria on 29th April – so time between Sheene losing the title lead and Cal Crutchlow heading it after Argentina is 38 years 344 days.

– Number of premier-class races without a British rider leading the championship is 589.

– Crutchlow is the first Independent Team rider to head the MotoGP championship classifications since Sete Gibernau in 2004.

– This was Crutchlow’s third MotoGP win, the same number of victories as 2006 world champions Nicky Hayden, both who did not compete in any of the smaller classes of GP racing. All the riders who have taken more MotoGP wins than Hayden and Crutchlow had progressed to the MotoGP class after competing in one of the smaller GP classes.

– Only two riders have taken more MotoGP wins than Crutchlow as Independent Team riders: Sete Gibernau with 8, and Marco Melandri with 5.

– He is the sixth oldest rider to win a MotoGP race, after: Valentino Rossi, Troy Bayliss, Alex Barros, Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi.

– Crutchlow is the oldest British rider to win a premier-class grand prix since Phil Read won the 500cc Czech Grand Prix in 1975.

– The British riders who have more premier-class GP wins than Crutchlow are: Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Geoff Duke, Barry Sheene, Phil Read and Les Graham. All of these riders have at least one premier-class world title to their name.

– The win Cal Crutchlow in Argentina means he has now finished on the podium at least once for seven successive seasons in the MotoGP class. Only two other British riders have had premier-class podium finishes in seven or more successive seasons: Mike Hailwood and Geoff Duke.

– He is the first rider who has not come through from the smaller classes of GP racing to lead the MotoGP championship classification since Nicky Hayden at the final race of 2006.

 

By | April 16th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|2 Comments

Fast Facts – Argentina 2018

  • In Qatar Andrea Dovizioso became the first Ducati rider to win the opening MotoGP race of the year since Casey Stoner in 2009. If he should win in Argentina it will be Ducati’s first ever victory at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and the first time that a Ducati rider has won both of the opening two MotoGP races of the year.
  • Dovizioso’s win in Qatar was the 9th time he has stood on the top step of the podium in the MotoGP class – the same number of premier-class victories as Loris Capirossi. Only three Italian riders have had more premier-class GP wins than Dovizioso – Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini and Max Biaggi.
  • A win in Argentina for Dovizioso would make him just the third rider in the MotoGP era to win the opening two races of the year; the only other riders to have achieved this is Marc Marquez in 2014 and Maverick Viñales last year.
  • Marc Marquez has started on pole on each of the four occasions that MotoGP has visited Argentina. He has won the race in both 2014 and 2016, and crashed out in both 2015 and 2017.
  • The 2nd place finish by Marc Marquez in Qatar was the 64th time he has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class, the same number of premier-class podiums as Wayne Rainey. Only seven riders have stood on the podium more often than Marquez in the premier-class: Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Doohan, Agostini, Lawson and Stoner.
  • With his third place finish in Qatar Rossi extended his record of finishing on the podium every season for twenty-three successive years. The second longest run of successive years with grand prix podium finishes is twenty by Angel Nieto.
  • Rossi has finished on the podium at least once in all nineteen seasons competing in the premier-class – also a record. His closest challenger in this record is Giacomo Agostini with thirteen successive years in the premier-class with at least one podium finish.
  • Cal Crutchlow was the first of the Independent Team riders across the line in Qatar in 4th place, equalling his best ever result at the opening race of the year from 2012. Crutchlow finished 3rd last year in Argentina – his only podium of 2017.
  • Johann Zarco won the Moto2 race in Argentina in both 2015 and 2016, and finished 5th last year in just his second race in the MotoGP class.
  • Hafizh Syahrin finished 14th on his MotoGP debut in Qatar to become the first Malaysian rider ever to score points in the premier-class of grand prix racing.
  • Just 0.027 seconds separated Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez in Qatar – the 8th closest finish of all-time in the premier-class.
  • Fifteenth place finisher in Qatar, Karel Abraham, finished just 23.287 second behind race winner Dovizioso – the closest ever top 15 finish in the 70-year history of premier-class grand prix racing. The previous record was 26.082 second covering the first 15 riders across the line at Aragon last year.
  • Another indication of how competitive the MotoGP field is in 2018 – in Qatar another nineteen riders lapped within 1 second of the fastest lap of the race set by Dovizioso.
  • The cumulative wining time for the three races in Qatar added up to just 0.162 seconds, which is smallest cumulative time across the three classes in the 70-year history of motorcycle grand prix racing when all three races have run for full distance. The previous record was 0.213 seconds at the German GP in 2006. (The cumulative winning time across the three classes at the Italian GP in 2016 was just 0.087 seconds, but the length of the Moto2 race was reduced to just 10 laps).
  • Honda need just one more victory to become the first manufacturer to reach the milestone of 750 grand prix wins across all classes. The breakdown by class following the opening race in Qatar is as follows: MotoGP – 131, 500cc – 156, 350cc – 35, 250cc – 207, Moto3 – 43, 125cc – 164, 50cc – 13.
By | April 4th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|2 Comments

Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This year’s event at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is the 15th motorcycle grand prix to be held in Argentina.
  • The first Argentinean GP took place in 1961 and was held in Buenos Aires; the first time that a grand prix had taken place outside of Europe. Not all of the top riders attended the event and the 52 lap, 203 km, 500cc race was won by home rider Jorge Kissling (Matchless) from fellow countryman Juan Carlos Salatino (Norton).
  • This is the fifth year that the Argentinean GP has taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. All of the ten previous grand prix in Argentina had taken place in Buenos Aires, the last of which was in 1999.
  • Three riders from Argentina have won grand prix races; Sebastian Porto (seven wins in the 250cc class), Benedicto Caldarella and Jorge Kissling who both had single victories in the 500cc class.
  • The last GP win by an Argentinean rider was in the 250cc class at the Dutch TT in 2005, when Sebastian Porto won the race from Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
  • The only current full-time grand prix rider who has raced in a grand prix at the Buenos Aires circuit is Valentino Rossi, who won the 250cc race in 1998 & was third in 1999.
  • Marc Marquez has been on pole on all four occasions MotoGP has visited the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit
  • Termas de Rio Hondo is the only circuit on the 2018 schedule where Valentino Rossi still holds the MotoGP lap record.
  • Marc Marquez and Honda have twice won the MotoGP race in Argentina – in 2014 and 2016.
  • The other two MotoGP wins in Argentina have both been by Yamaha riders –  Valentino Rossi in 2015 race after starting down in 8th place on the grid, and Maverick Viñales last year. Yamaha riders filled four of the top six places in the MotoGP race in Argentina last year.
  • Last year in Argentina Viñales made it two wins from the opening two races of the season – the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the opening two premier-class grand prix races of the year.
  • Andrea Dovizioso’s second place finish in 2015 is the only podium finish for a Ducati rider in Argentina.
  • The best result for a Suzuki rider at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is seventh with Aleix Espargaro three years ago.
  • The four Moto2 races that have taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit have all been won by riders now competing in the MotoGP class: Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2015 & 2016, and Franco Morbidelli last year. In each of the past four years the Moto2 race winner in Argentina has gone on to take the world title.
  • Last year in Argentina Miguel Oliveira qualified on pole position for the first time since moving up to the Moto2 class – the first Portuguese rider to start from pole position in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing.
By | March 29th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats

  • The only win in the MotoGP class for Marc Marquez in the opening race of the year was in 2014, which was also his only pole at the Losail circuit since moving up to the MotoGP class. His third place finish two years ago is his only podium in the last three years at Qatar.
  • Andrea Dovizioso has finished second in Qatar for the last three years and also started from pole in 2015.
  • In Qatar last year Viñales started from pole for the first time since moving up to the MotoGP class, adding to his previous poles in Moto2 and Moto3, to become the first rider to start from pole across all three current classes.
  • Yamaha riders have won in Qatar for the las three years: Rossi in 2015, Lorenzo in 2016 and Viñales last year.
  • Following his win in Qatar last year, Viñales will be aiming to become the first rider to win the opening race of the season in successive years since Jorge Lorenzo in 2012 and 2013.
  • After winning the final race of 2017, Dani Pedrosa will be aiming to take back to back wins for the first time since he won at Jerez and Le Mans in 2013. Pedrosa has never won the opening race of the year in his twelve years in the MotoGP class.
  • Pedrosa’s victory at Valencia was the 54th time he has stood on the top step of a grand prix podium, and on every occasion he has been riding a Honda. This is the same number of GP win on a Honda as Mick Doohan. No rider has had more victories than these two riders on Honda machinery.
  • Bradley Smith is scheduled to become just the third British rider to reach the milestone of 200 grand prix starts across all class, joining Chas Mortimer (234 GP starts) and Phil Read (212 GP starts).
  • Jorge Lorenzo is the rider who has had most GP wins at the Losail circuit, with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc). He has also started from pole at Qatar on eight occasions (1 x 125cc, 3 x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP).
  • Johann Zarco crashed in Qatar last year when leading the race on his debut in the MotoGP class. He best result in Qatar is 6th in the 125cc race back in 2011. Only one French rider has ever won the opening premier-class GP of the year – Pierre Monneret on a Gilera at Reims in 1954; following this win is also the only time that a French rider has topped the premier-class world championship classification.
  • At the Qatar Grand Prix Dani Pedrosa is scheduled to become just the fifth rider to reach the milestone of 200 starts in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing, and the first Spanish rider to do this. At the age if 32 years 170 days Pedrosa is the youngest ever rider to reach this milestone, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 33 years 73 days old when making his 200th premier-class GP start at Jerez in 2012.
  • Tom Luthi joins the MotoGP class for 2018 and is the first Swiss rider to compete in the premier-class since Eskil Suter rode a 500cc MuZ in 1998.
  • Takaaki Nakagami is the first Japanese rider to race full-time in the MotoGP class since Hiroshi Aoyama in 2014.
  • Xavier Simeon is the first Belgium rider to compete in the premier-class since Sebastien Legrelle in the 500cc class in 2000.
  • Hafizh Syahrin is the first ever Malaysian rider to compete in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
By | March 16th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats

Qatar MotoGP Facts and Stats – 2018

– This will be the 15th occasion that a grand prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the 11th under floodlights.

– This will be the 12th successive year that the Losail circuit has hosted the opening grand prix event of the year. No circuit has hosted the opening grand prix of the year on more occasions than Losail.

– Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the MotoGP class at the Losail circuit with eight wins, including five times in the last six years.

– Honda have had three MotoGP wins in Qatar, the last of which was in 2014 with Marc Marquez.

– Ducati won at Losail for three consecutive years, 2007 to 2009, with Casey Stoner riding.

– The best result for a Suzuki rider at the Losail circuit is the fourth place finish by John Hopkins in 2007.

– The riders with most GP victories at Losail is Jorge Lorenzo with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc).

– Aleix Espargaro’s sixth place finish in Qatar last year equalled the best ever result for Aprilia in the MotoGP class achieved by Colin Edwards at the opening race of the 2003 season at Suzuka in Japan.

– Since ±MotoGP was introduced as the premier-class of grand prix racing in 2002, six different riders have won the opening race of the year: Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales.

– In Qatar last year Sam Lowes, who recorded the slowest “fastest lap” in the MotoGP race posted a lap just 1.891 seconds slower than the fastest lap of the race set by Johann Zarco. Never previously in the MotoGP class have 23 riders posted a lap time within two seconds of the fastest lap set during a race.

– The only four current riders who have won in the MotoGP class in Qatar are; Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales.

– None of the previous winners of the Moto2 race in Qatar are competing in the class in 2018, although two riders who have won in the 250cc class at the Losail circuit are entered in the Moto2 class in 2018: Mattia Pasini (2008) and Hector Barbera (2009).

– The only previous Qatar GP winner competing in the Moto3 class in 2018 is Niccolo Antonelli who won the Moto3 race in 2016.

 

By | March 8th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Qatar MotoGP Facts and Stats – 2018

Record breaking entry list in the MotoGP class in 2018

The record breaking MotoGP grid for 2018 consist of nineteen riders who have previously competed in the class, together with the addition of five ‘rookies’. The full time entry list for this year has following changes from last year:

  • Out from last year are: Jonas Folger, Loris Baz, Sam Lowes and Hector Barbera
  • The following five riders are joining the MotoGP grid for 2018: Franco Morbidelli, Tom Luthi, Xavier Simeon, Takaaki Nakagami and Hafizh Syahrin.

The following table shows the grand prix wins and world championships achieved by the riders on the 2018 MotoGP entry list.

 

Titles Race wins
Total MotoGP/500cc Moto2/250cc Moto3/125cc Total MotoGP/500cc Moto2/250cc Moto3/125cc
Valentino Rossi 9 7 1 1 115 89 14 12
Marc Marquez 6 4 1 1 61 35 16 10
Jorge Lorenzo 5 3 2 65 44 17 4
Dani Pedrosa 3 2 1 54 31 15 8
Johann Zarco 2 2 16 15 1
Maverick Viñales 1 1 20 4 4 12
Andrea Dovizioso 1 1 17 8 4 5
Alvaro Bautista 1 1 16 8 8
Tom Luthi 1 1 16 11 5
Pol Espargaro 1 1 15 10 5
Tito Rabat 1 1 13 13
Franco Morbidelli 1 1 8 8
Andrea Iannone 0 13 1 8 4
Alex Rins 0 12 4 8
Jack Miller 0 7 1 6
Scott Redding 0 4 3 1
Bradley Smith 0 3 3
Cal Crutchlow 0 2 2
Takaaki Nakagami 0 2 2
Karel Abraham 0 1 1
Xavier Simeon 0 1 1
Total 32 14 11 7 461 215 154 92

 

The strength of the MotoGP grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders lining up:

  • There are twelve Grand Prix World Champions on the full-time MotoGP entry list in 2018.
  • These twelve riders have won a total of thirty-two World Championships titles between them; a new record for the full-time MotoGP entry list.
  • Nine of the riders on the list have won races in the premier-class. These nine riders have between them won a total of 215 premier-class GP races – the highest ever number of accumulated premier-class GP wins for the riders on a MotoGP grid.
  • Twenty-one riders on the MotoGP entry list have had race victories in at least one of the three classes of Grand Prix racing, with a combined total of Grand Prix victories of 461. The only three riders on the MotoGP entry list who have not stood on the top step of a grand prix podium are: Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and Hafizh Syahrin.

The oldest rider on the MotoGP full-time entry list is Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 39th birthday in February. For the second successive year the youngest rider on the full-time MotoGP entry list is Alex Rins who will be 22 years 100 days old when he lines up on the grid in Qatar.

With an entry list like this, whoever takes the MotoGP world title in 2018 will definitely have to earn it!

 

By | March 1st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Record breaking entry list in the MotoGP class in 2018

THE GOLDEN ERA OF GRAND PRIX RACING

There is often debate on which is the “Golden Era” of motorcycle grand prix racing. Is it the early years of the world championship in the 1950’s, or perhaps the 1960’s when the Japanese manufacturers invested huge amounts to become successful. Or maybe the 1970’s which saw the start of what we now consider the “modern era” of grand prix racing when the original closed road circuits gave way to purpose built tracks. Or the great times of 1980s into the early 1990s when fierce rivalries between a handful of riders from USA and Australia tamed the fearsome 500cc 2-strokes. Then there is the emergence of the four-stroke MotoGP class in 2002 which also coincided with the career of one Valentino Rossi.

I have been following motorcycle grand prix racing for 50 years, covering most of the era’s mentioned about, but for me it is none of these. The Golden Era is now! When I ventured this opinion of Twitter recently, someone asked, why do I consider this the Golden Era. Well here are a few reasons:

  • Fantastic depth of talent: Of the 24 riders on the full-time MotoGP entry list for 2018, 12 are grand prix world champions and 21 of them have stood on the top step of a grand prix podium, with a total of 461 GP victories between them.
  • Competitive machinery: All 24 riders on the grid have bikes either supplied direct from the factory or indirectly as a “satellite” rider. Added to this the rule changes over recent years have resulted in bikes that are more closely matched than ever before.
  • Close racing: Due to the great depth of talent and competitive machinery, the racing last year was closer than ever with seven of the twelve closest premier-class grand prix races occurring in 2017 (more detail in my previous blog: www.nick-harris.co.uk/how-close-will-motogp-be-in-2018)
  • Unpredictable: Over the last 50 MotoGP races there have been nine different winners. Over this period no single rider has dominated in terms of race wins, Marquez with 15 victories is the rider who has stood on the top step of the podium most. The other wins are distributed as follows: Lorenzo – 10, Dovizioso – 7, Pedrosa – 5, Rossi – 5, Vinales – 4, Crutchlow – 2 and one each for Iannone and Miller.
  • Nineteen races: The 2018 race schedule has added another new circuit to the calendar to bring the number of races up to a record 19, across 15 different countries. Although the addition of an extra race is not universally popular with everyone working in the MotoGP paddock, it is great for the fans!
  • Great worldwide following: As Nick stated in an earlier blog (www.nick-harris.co.uk/over-two-and-a-half-millions-fans-cant-be-wrong/), the number of fans turning up at the race tracks to watch the races is at a record level and the TV audience continues to increase each year. Added to that is the enormous number of fans who follow the sport online and on Social Media.
  • Fierce rivalry: The rivalry between the current top riders means that on track no quarter is asked or given, providing incredible close racing.

So while it is always fun to look back nostalgically to past era’s and discuss the great races and riders (through rose tinted spectacles?), never forget that in 20 years’ time what is happening NOW will be remembered as THE “Golden Era”.

By | February 15th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|1 Comment

How close will MotoGP be in 2018?

All evidence from the first MotoGP test of the year in Sepang is that the racing in 2018 will be just as close and fierce as 2017 which was a record breaking season for close premier-class grand prix races.

Last year the record books were being re-written nearly every weekend, starting with the opening race of the year when the 15th place finisher Tito Rabat crossed the line just 29.47 seconds behind race winner Maverick Vinales. This was the second closest top 15 finish of all-time in the premier-class, after the 29.296 seconds covering the top 15 finishers at Brno in 2006. This was just a sign of things to come over the other 17 races of 2017.

There was another indication in Qatar that the depth of field in the MotoGP class, in terms of both riders and machinery, is greater than ever. Sam Lowes, who recorded the slowest “fastest lap” in the MotoGP race posted a lap just 1.891 seconds slower than the fastest lap of the race set by Johann Zarco. Never before in the MotoGP class have there been 23 riders that have posted a lap time within two seconds of the fastest lap set during a race.

At the second race of 2017 in Argentina, the fastest lap of the MotoGP was set by Maverick Viñales with a time of 1 minute 39.694 seconds. During the course of the race another sixteen riders set lap times within one second of this fastest lap time; the first time in a MotoGP race that seventeen riders have posted lap times within one second of the fastest lap of the race.

At the third race of 2017 in Austin, 11th place finisher in Austin, Jonas Folger, crossed the line just 18.903 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez – the closest top eleven of the MotoGP era.

At Mugello, tenth place finisher Andrea Iannone, crossed the line just 15.502 seconds after race winner Andrea Dovizioso, which was the closest ever top ten finish in the MotoGP class in a race that has run for full distance. This record was re-written again during 2017 when 14.075 seconds covered the top ten finishers in Aragon.

It is worth noting that it was not only in the MotoGP class that records for close racing were being set; at Mugello the 15th place finisher in the Moto3 race, Jorge Martin, crossed the line just 1.553 seconds behind race winner Andrea Migno; the closest top 15 in any class in the 69 year history of motorcycle grand prix racing.

By the end of the season the list for closest top 15 finishes of all-time in the premier-class looked like this:

Year Circuit Race winner Time covering first 15 riders across the line (sec)
1 2017 ARAGON Marc Marquez 26.082
2 2017 AUSTRALIA Marc Marquez 26.168
3 2017 RED BULL RING Andrea Dovizioso 28.096
4 2006 BRNO Loris Capirossi 29.296
5 2017 QATAR Maverick Vinales 29.47
6 2001 PHILLIP ISLAND Valentino Rossi 29.738
7 2005 BRNO Valentino Rossi 29.768
8 2017 MUGELLO Andrea Dovizioso 30.779
9 2015 LOSAIL Valentino Rossi 33.625
10 2017 SILVERSTONE Andrea Dovizioso 33.901
11 2007 JEREZ Valentino Rossi 36.744
12 2017 SACHSENRING Marc Marquez 37.771

 

This shows that seven of the closest twelve races of all-time occurred in 2017! And it was not only down to 15th place that racing was close in 2017, on eight occasions the winning margin was less than one second.

The 2018 season will be the 70th season of motorcycle grand prix racing, and on an historical note, in 1949 only the first five riders across the line scored world championship points. The average time covering these top five riders in 1949 was 3 minutes 20 seconds (although it must be said that the races were rather longer back in 1949, taking anything from 1 hour 16 minutes, up to 3 hours!)

The opening test of 2018 is an indication that this close racing could continue in this season. How many days is it to the opening race if the year in Qatar?

By | February 1st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|Comments Off on How close will MotoGP be in 2018?