2019 MotoGP

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #1
A new MotoGP season is upon us and following some classic seasons in the past few years it has some seriously big shoes to fill. But with some intriguing rider and team changes, the capability to live up to or even exceed those expectations is well and truly there. Following is my team-by-team preview for 2019.

REPSOL HONDA
- Marc Marquez: once again the reigning champion, Marquez returned to be MotoGP's dominant figure in 2018 after being pushed to the end in 2017. With a further improved Honda, it's very hard to bet against him, however an off-season shoulder reconstructing does ask some questions about his physical resiliance. All that crashing has to eventually take a toll and after mixed signals regarding his condition during testing, this is really the only question mark surrounding his competitiveness.

- Jorge Lorenzo: the bombshell of 2018 was the annoncement that Jorge Lorenzo was leaving Ducati - just as he started to win with them - to join as Marquez teammate at Honda. Going head-to-head on equal machinery with the champ - what a gamble! Early indications looked positive but he suffered a busted in training that has put him behind the eight-ball. The championship looks a long shot for him but race wins are likely. Don't underestimate his ability to under the skin of Marquez either. Contrary to conspiracy theories, these guys aren't friends.

LCR HONDA
- Cal Crutchlow: 2019 was a strong year for Cal, picking up another win and poised to finish top 5 in the championship. But a horror busted leg (in 13 pieces requiring nearly 1kg of metal to build it back together!) at Phillip Island put paid to that and he's realistically still recovering. 2019 will be tough for Cal against increased rider and machinery talent in MotoGP but he's a fighter and up for the challenge. Top 7 would be an accomplishment.

- Takaaki Nakagami: showed flashes of speed in 2018 on a year old Honda, this year he'll still be on a year old Honda but the '18 bike was a significant improvement on what he rode last year. Should be a regular at the low end of the points with perhaps the occasional top 10 surprise.


MONSTER YAMAHA
- Valentino Rossi: the just turned 40 year old is as determined as ever but is he as fast as ever? Certainly no slouch and Sepang last year showed that on his day he is race win competitive but he hasn't won for nearly 2 years and MotoGP isn't getting any easier. The Yamaha has looked strong in testing though Rossi has been sending mixed messsages with how happy he is with the M1. Multiple podiums are almost a certainty but does he have any wins left in him?

- Maverick Vinales: 2018 was largely a disappointing year for Mav. More often than not beaten by his "over the hill" teammate, by far his highlight was breaking Yamaha's win drought at Phillip Island. He has been blisteringly fast and consistent in testing with Yamaha following his development lead, is this the year that sees Vinales make good on the potential he showed when he first joined Yamaha? Time will tell but the signs look good.

PETRONAS YAMAHA
- Franco Morbidelli: "Franco on a Yamaha, we're all in trouble" opined Jack Miller last year. Well, out of the ashes of the Marc VDS Honda team rises the Petronas Yamaha team and Franco gets his opportunity on a Factory M1 at his disposal. If testing is anything to go by he is going to make fine use of it. Podiums are a realistic goal.

- Fabio Quartararo: the surprise packet of Moto2 in 2018 became the surprise elevation to MoroGP for 2019. But a top 3 position in the final MotoGP test at Qatar, he may prove to be an inspired signing. Super aggressive, he'll ruffle a few feathers, expect equal parts crashing and brilliance.

ECSTAR SUZUKI
- Alex Rins: Suzuki have taken a gamble by installing Rins as their lead guy despite only having two years of experience at the top level. And to date it looks to be paying handsome dividends with the Suzuki runner consistently near the head of the table in testing. With multiple podiums in 2018, surely races wins are on the cards in 2019?

Joan Mir: the next big thing? Mir set all sorts of records in his Moto3 championship year and the beginning of his Moto2 campaign he looked like a duck taking to water scoring early season podiums. But then, disappointingly, his season somewhat petered out missing out on scoring a single expected race win. The step up to MotoGP is significant but he is class and testing has showed he is not overawed. Expect consistent improvement as the year progresses, he should be a regular points scorer.


GRESINI APRILIA
- Aleix Espargaro: quick and dependable to always give 100%, Aleix will be hoping that Aprilia can finally start to make the big leap they need to to be competitive. With a significant personnel shuffle during the off-season, things have looked promising for Aprilia. Hopefully Esparagaro Snr can start to see regular top 10 finishes this year. I wouldn't count it out.

- Andrea Iannone: sacked by Ducati after 2016, fired by Suzuki after 2018, Iannone appears to be on his last chance in 2019 with Aprilia. And he hasn't exactly covered himself in glory in his start with the Italian marque, missing a day of testing due to a reaction from facial cosmetic surgery... Expect anything and everything!


RED BULL KTM
- Johann Zarco: Zarco gets the factory ride that he wanted though maybe not the actual factory bike he'd have liked. KTM were disappointing last year after an impressive debut season, finding out just how hard that next step is to make. Progression is likely with massive resources being poured in but even at that, semi-regular top 10s looks like Zarco's lot for 2019.

- Pol Esparagaro: the younger Espargaro brother starts his third year at KTM with plenty of motivation to beat his fancied teammate. Perhaps underrated, Pol will likely at least keep Zarco honest. He might even just show him a clean pair of heels.

TECH3 KTM
- Miguel Oliveira: a title contender in Moto2 last year, Oliveira has so far found the step up to MotoGP challenging. It hasn't helped that the Tech3 team he has joined are also completely new to the KTM bikes, having ended their long running association with Yamaha for the lure of factory spec KTMs. Points will be hard fought but Miguel is talented and methodical and should see improvement as the year progresses.

- Hafizh Syahrin: largely consisdered borderline for his position in MotoGP last year, Hafizh didn't quite bury his critics. This year he is on KTM machinery, a step down from the Yamaha he had last year. Just fighting for points will be a large challenge.


MISSION WINNOW DUCATI
- Andrea Dovizioso: 2018 was a year of missed opportunity for Dovi. He had the pace to win races but too many tumbles saw him crash out of title contention. This year, the Ducati looks as strong as ever, maybe the strongest on the grid. With a massive wave of new talent coming through, this could well be Dovi's last roll of the dice. Can he do it? I'm not so sure.

- Danilo Petrucci: finally, after the long way 'round, a path less traveled, Petrucci has earned himself a factory seat with the plumb ride at Ducati. But he has absolutely no time to relax as a one year contract requires he perform or most likely be replaced. He has shown good pace in the past and without the burden of testing new parts that he did whilst at Pramac, perhaps we will now see him become a regular podium getter and race winner.

PRAMAC DUCATI
- Jack Miller: 2019 looms as a massive year for Jack. His first year on a Ducati showed plenty of potential but was blighted by crashes and tyre gambles. This year sees him ditch the year-old bike for a factory spec machine, albeit that he will be saddled with some parts testing for the factory boys. Although still young himself, he very much is under pressure from the new generation filtering through. With the motivation of a possible factory Ducati seat next year, regular top 5s with a few podiums is where he needs to be. He has the speed but does he have the drive?

- Pecco Bagnaia: the class of the Moto2 crop in 2018, his step up to MotoGP has been impressively smooth, consistently in and around the top 10 on his year old bike. Ducati have had their eye on him for years now and have big plans for him. It's not a stretch to believe that regular top 10s with some top 5s is possible in his rookie year.

REALE AVINTIA DUCATI
- Tito Rabat: after suffering an horrific broken leg at a flooded Silverstone last year, it overshadowed a quietly impressive season Tito was putting together. This year he gets to return with the same team on last years proven Ducati. Should be a regular top 10 runner if he can fully recover from his injuries.

- Karel Abraham: largely chastised for being a pay-to-ride rider, Karel is not a complete duffer having had some strong results over the years. The problem for him now is the quality of this MotoGP field - both in terms of bikes, teams and riders - is possibly the highest it has ever been. Struggling for points will be his lot in life but will likely pick up a few top 10 results as well.



So there you have it folks, the 2019 MotoGP riders as I see them. Marquez I have as the unsurprising clear favourite with his main rivals being Dovi, Lorenzo, Vinales and Rins in no particular order. Regardless of how the title plays out, the machinery looks so evenly matched that the racing itself should be epic.

Bring it on!!!

MotoGP Riders 2019.jpg
 

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Klyntonius

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Thread starter #2
Results from the first practice session of the year.

  1. Valentino Rossi ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) 1m 55.048s [Lap 17/18] 336km/h (Top Speed)
  2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.127s +0.079s [14/16] 338k
  3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.164s +0.116s [6/17] 342k
  4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP19) 1m 55.217s +0.169s [16/17] 342k
  5. Danilo Petrucci ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP19) 1m 55.267s +0.219s [8/17] 342k
  6. Maverick Viñales ESP Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) 1m 55.312s +0.264s [19/19] 333k
  7. Franco Morbidelli ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT (YZR-M1) 1m 55.324s +0.276s [16/18] 331k
  8. Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (Desmosedici GP19) 1m 55.396s +0.348s [17/17] 345k
  9. Alex Rins ESP Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 55.409s +0.361s [14/16] 338k
  10. Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.496s +0.448s [17/17] 338k
  11. Fabio Quartararo FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT (YZR-M1)* 1m 55.509s +0.461s [15/16] 336k
  12. Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 1m 55.620s +0.572s [15/15] 338k
  13. Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 55.778s +0.730s [12/14] 337k
  14. Joan Mir SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)* 1m 55.828s +0.780s [10/17] 339k
  15. Andrea Iannone ITA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 55.828s +0.780s [17/17] 337k
  16. Francesco Bagnaia ITA Pramac Ducati (Desmosedici GP18)* 1m 55.835s +0.787s [15/15] 337k
  17. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.869s +0.821s [15/17] 346k
  18. Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16)* 1m 56.061s +1.013s [16/16] 336k
  19. Johann Zarco FRA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 1m 56.206s +1.158s [17/17] 334k
  20. Karel Abraham CZE Reale Avintia (Desmosedici GP18) 1m 56.249s +1.201s [16/16] 336k
  21. Tito Rabat ESP Reale Avintia (Desmosedici GP18) 1m 56.289s +1.241s [14/16] 340k
  22. Hafizh Syahrin MAL Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16) 1m 57.181s +2.133s [12/12] 330k
  23. Bradley Smith GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 57.189s +2.141s [13/16] 339k

Bradley Smith is in as a wildcard for Aprilia this round.
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #3
FP2 results.

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'53.380
2 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'53.854 0.474 0.474
3 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 1'53.908 0.528 0.054
4 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'54.053 0.673 0.145
5 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 1'54.154 0.774 0.101
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'54.256 0.876 0.102
7 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 1'54.275 0.895 0.019
8 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 1'54.320 0.940 0.045
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 1'54.367 0.987 0.047
10 36 Joan MIR Suzuki 1'54.402 1.022 0.035
11 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda 1'54.428 1.048 0.026
12 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 1'54.444 1.064 0.016
13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'54.452 1.072 0.008
14 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 1'54.801 1.421 0.349
15 53 Tito RABAT Ducati 1'55.032 1.652 0.231
16 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 1'55.053 1.673 0.021
17 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'55.137 1.757 0.084
18 5 Johann ZARCO KTM 1'55.412 2.032 0.275
19 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 1'55.432 2.052 0.020
20 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 1'55.635 2.255 0.203
21 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1'55.654 2.274 0.019
22 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 1'56.437 3.057 0.783
23 38 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 1'56.834 3.454 0.397



This is looking like a very unpredictable weekend!
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #5
A few notes from day 1:

- there is an enormous difference in track speed from the early session in daylight to the second session at night to the tune of about 1.5 second.

- Rossi had issues with chewing out front tyres in the second session and failed to improve his times leading to his plummeting from 1st to 17th fastest. He'll almost certainly have to go through Q1 to get to Q2.

- Remy Gardner has continued on from his stellar pre-season form. He has better machinery this year, on board a Kalex which is the same as the bulk of the field which hopefully will mean he won't override the bike so much as last year on the Tech3 Mistral.

- Romano Fenati was amongst the fastest runners in Moto3, much to the joy of some (like me) and the disgust of others. It also appears he is keen on a fresh start, changing his number from 13 to 55.

- there is unrest amongst the MotoGP riders who have had there calls ignored for the race to be started an hour earlier. The big concern is dew rolling in and making the circuit dangerous.

- the Moto2 bikes not only have the glorious larger 3 cylinder Triumph engines this year but also significantly more electronics to play with. This includes an auto-blip on down changes which is said to offer significant time gains on corner entry.
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #6
Lorenzo with a very nasty highside in FP3. Lay next to the track for a short while before catching his breath. Got back to the pits, changed into his civies and headed to the Clinical Mobile. Question marks over his participation here. Hopefully he's just sore but okay.
 

Pea Nut

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Anyone else think Zarco has committed career suicide by going to KTM?? Even Aprilia seem in another stratosphere compared to them in terms of bike development. KTM are so, so far off the pace.
 

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A whole bunch of guys including Lorenzo binning it in Q1. Anyone slightly off line in to turn 2 paying the price with their front end disappearing.
 

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Vinales quickest and starts on pole. Managed to shave a few tenths of his early session time. Miller went quick late in the session and then also became a victim of turn 2. Nasty crash and a bit of a headscratcher. Miller starts 4th. Quatararo starts 5th. Great ride in his debut. Marquez starts in 3rd after following Petrucci around all session. Petrucci didn't handle that well at all. Dovi starts 2nd. Should be a good race.
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #13
Anyone else think Zarco has committed career suicide by going to KTM?? Even Aprilia seem in another stratosphere compared to them in terms of bike development. KTM are so, so far off the pace.
It's interesting. KTM are winners. They win in everything they contest. With the second largest budget in the paddock behind Honda, the resources are there to succeed.
I've no doubt that they'll become competitive in MotoGP. The question mark is whether they can get there during Zarco's career. They've expanded operations this year to help fast track development but MotoGP is a tough nut to crack.
Zarco is going to need to tap into the spirit of Nicky Hayden and just grit his teeth and work hard. The results can come but he wouldn't want to live with his bottom lip dragging on the ground like last night.
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #15
Cracking start to the Moto3 season. Toba a surprise first time winner.

Romano Fenati made his return to racing, was clearly the fastest on circuit but appeared to mistake a warning for a penalty for exceeding track limits and took the new "long track" punishment where there is a zone outside a designated corner the rider has to run through as a remedy to the debacle of adding time after a race that happened last year. This dropped him from the top 5 back to 12th with 3 laps to go and he couldn't quite recover from there.
 

Klyntonius

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Thread starter #16
Carnage in Moto2 as well!!

Remy with a good solid start. Hopefully he can just settle into a good solid pace and run with the leaders.
 

Quokka

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Remy disappointed to be pipped on the line but that's a good confident ride from him to start 2019.

Love the new green livery with the SAG Moto2 as well.
 

Klyntonius

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Wow, what a Moto2 finish!! Baldasarri takes a win by a bees dick ahead of a charging Tom Lüthi.
Remy rode a fantastic race, thought he had timed it perfectly for the podium but Schrotter done him by a couple of thousandths on the line.
 
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