Race Track


One that is to go to the history books as one of the most
memorable races. This race had everything you could ever want
as a spectator, irrespective of the media platform you choose to use.
What happened, rather, what did not happen?

Fabio Quatararo after
qualifying on P
ole does
not get the hole shot

Lights out!
The moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived and I am personally very excited and at the edge of my seat. We have been waiting for over 7 months to get to this point. I watched various videos during the winter tests, the specs of the bikes, the technical analysis and times set at the very track that we would see the first race post & during the pandemic.

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

The conditions are not ideal, but I am are just excited that finally there is some racing. During this time of the season in Jerez it is scorching hot and this is bad for the tyres as then they will not be at the right temperature. Not too hot, not too cold. Tyre choice is then the game changer. Yamaha gambles and puts on Softs (front & back). Michellin issued a warning about putting on Softs and how they may not hold in these conditions, however, are good for a few laps.

What is Yamaha planning? Pull away at the start then increase the gap? Gain advantage of about 5 seconds then take it easy?
Lights out and the gamble seems to be paying off. Maverick Vinalez gets a
great start and the hole shot. Turn 1, they pile up lead by Vinalez then
Marquez and Jack Miller use the power of the Ducati to pass the pole setter. A dismal start from the 21-year-old French man as he moves from 1st to 4th in less than 2 corners. It is a battle of the Japanese manufacturers in front, Yamaha vs Honda, ridden by the Spaniards making it a MotoGP derby. Marquez, the world champion looks strong as always, and it is a matter of time till he pounces on Vinalez and take the lead. 2 laps in and the gamble is already failing and not yielding any gains. First warning, and Vinalez losses the front a bit while the world champ is stalking him and putting a plan of where to overtake, not like he needs an invitation as he excels in overtaking on places thought impossible before.

Lap 2 and we did not need to wait any longer for action. As the Yamaha
struggles with a bit of grip, Marquez sees an opportunity to pounce and take the lead, however Vinalez responded back immediately. They swap paints for a few corners till the world champ wins this dual. This is typical of Vinalez to not be a challenger on the early stages while the bike has a full load of fuel. He turns to attack towards the later stages of the race. At the middle of the pack, Joan Mir starts disappearing of the time sheet, this is sad as he had been performing at the top of the “Rookie’s” board. While I was focusing on that, Marquez pulls yet another save that we really do not know as to how he gets that done. I now dub him the Goal Keeper, based on the amount of saves that he makes. He lost the front and I suspect having to use a lot of the kerbs and exceeding track limits to gain more speed. Luckily entering at more 120KM/H he was up on his feet and was not swallowed by the kitty litter, however dropping him right to the back behind his brother.

Speaking of Marquez’s bother. Alex did not show high performance and I was disappointed as he was promising during the tests and was showing some good pace. I had thought he would take top rookie, speaking of which, enter the South African Brad Binder coming from 13th to 8th on his MotoGP debut. Brad was showing top spot performance and a potential challenge on the top 5. Remarkable. Not to bask the shine away from another top Rookie, Pecco Bagnia was sitting consistently on the top 5. The sport shows a lot future champions that we will surely enjoy watching them grow and entertaining us like Rossi back in the day. The Doctor was not having a good day and to even being covered during the race, until he parked the bike on the side which seems to have been an off track moment and off to dirt. Still puzzled as to what had happened and await the press release from the Yamaha garage. This could mean the end of Rossi’s fight for the championship. I personally love him and hoped for one more. Pull one off the hat like Max Biaggi winning the WSBK Championship at age 40.

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com
Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Fabio Quatararo after qualifying on pole does not get the hole Shot 2 champ is stalking him and putting a plan of where to overtake, not like he needs an invitation as he excels in overtaking on places thought impossible.

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

10 Laps Gone
Fabio Quartararo from a dismal start makes it a Yamaha 1,2 passing Jack
Miller after a battle or two as the Ducati’s horsepower makes it hard to
overtake on the straight, also Yamaha with the performance from last year,
struggled a lot. The 2020 package is still sluggish but shows much
improvements as Fabio managed to take the fight to the Dukes. Fabio can now smell blood as he is taking the challenge onto the factory team and future team mate on the Monster Energy Yamaha. At the pace that the Yamahas are pushing in front, Marquez with about 4 laps remaining may be able to catch up with them. He is lapping a second faster at 1’38s.
Now the world champ is 9 tens (0.9s) behind Franco Morbidelli on the other
Petronas Yamaha and still lapping a second faster than Vinalez who now is on the 3 rd position being overtaken by Jack Miller. This truly can be a return of the century from coming off track and placing last, to now getting closer to the front to fight for the win. If we had to rewind a little bit, this gives a feeling of deja vu. Marquez was given a penalty which meant he had to start the race from right at the back in Top rookies for the day, based on performance 4 his Moto2 career. This race was the one to show that he will be a force to be reckoned with. He fought through the pack and end up winning the race. Some of the best I have ever watched, from each overtake to a “no way”.

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

This is by far the best recovery ever from the premier class. Having to come
off the track and make your way to the top. Marquez is back stalking Vinalez whom by now managing to handle the bike with a low fuel load. Just like the previous session he lines him and at the same corner that he went out, the left “softer” portion of the rear tire gives in as he was leaning, he suffers a major High side and what looks like the same shoulder he had an operation done and was recovering at the time that the race season would have started, just got inured again.

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

My heart is sore. I am up from my seat after screaming loudly “Ohhhhh
Nooooo”. How could this have happened. As I have stated abouve, the
asymmetrical tire had been used a lot on the softer portion of the compound when Marquez was pushing to get back into the front. This then lead to the degradation and with the extreme hot conditions, meant loss of grip as well. At that point in time, his adrenalin was high and had one mission “WIN”. He will later look back and think “I should have just taken the points at either 3rd or remain 4th Marquez. Pulling his best overtakes

Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

The 21 year old got his first ever win on the premier class, and a well-deserved one. He has been fighting and last year, got left behind as the bike was not fast enough. This year he is showing championship maturity. Apart from a bad start, he really performed well and I cannot wait to see him on the factory Yamaha as well as the current season winning more races El Diablo.

By: Lethu Ziqubu

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