A delayed start like Brno on Sunday is a nightmare for everybody. Riders have to readjust their brains, stay calm and wait usually for the weather to make up its mind and go one way or the other. Teams are constantly checking the clouds and their forecasting computer screens while preparing tyres for wet, dry and the likely prospect of a flag to flag race. Television and radio commentators keep talking while their people in pit lane scurry round interviewing anybody willing to speak and especially anybody who has inside knowledge of the weather and the rules. Millions of viewers throughout the world either open the fridge for another beer or put on the kettle to make yet another cup of tea.
It’s always been the same dilemma for the riders although some them employed their own special way of dealing with the nerve-jangling wait. Typically, double 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene produced the most attention. While others around scurried around he would simply pull out a cigarette, place into his mouth through a special hole drilled in his helmet for the purpose, light up and have a quiet smoke while the weather and the organisers made up their minds. It was so Barry, playing physiological games to undermine his rivals even before the race had started. It worked most times although a certain Kenny Roberts was neither impressed or intimidated.
There was no visible sign of any rider lighting up on Sunday even round the back of the pit lane garages and certainly not Marc Marquez who seemed so relaxed. Who was surprised after that truly unbelievable lap by the World Champion to qualifying by over two seconds on slick tyres the previous afternoon on a track that had plenty of damp or even wet patches.
Viewers witnessed plenty of replays of that amazing lap while they waited for the weather to make up its mind. We heard from Mick Doohan on the grid how he was still p……… off losing out to Alex Criville after leading all the way to the very last corner at Brno 23 years ago. John Hopkins told us during the nervous wait this was when he was glad he was no longer a MotoGP™ rider. Colin Edwards how he just wanted to get back into his garage and stay focused while relaxing and we heard many opinions on the rumours that Valentino Rossi is considering retirement.
When proceeding got underway Marquez was once again in a class of his own. His 50th MotoGP™ win to join that exclusive club alongside Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini and Mick Doohan. Already we are working out not if but when he is going to retain that World title. Brother Alex is doing a similar destruction job in Moto2™ and that double World title for the family we saw back in 2014 when Alex captured the Moto3™ crown looks more than likely.
Ducati arrive at the Red Bull Ring this Sunday with their best chance of halting, perhaps only temporally, the Marquez freight train. Since MotoGP™ returned to the magnificent circuit the Italian factory have dominated with wins for Iannone, Dovizioso and Lorenzo. A repeat on Sunday would delay what already looks inevitable and might stop my Formula One car friends giving me some well-deserved stick after what I’ve given them over the last few years.