The first weekend of the Misano MotoGP ended with an Italian victory, with Morbidelli ahead of Pecco Bagnaia. A triumph for Valentino Rossi’s Academy. Yet, he had to settle for a 4th place in the race, beaten on the last lap by Joan Mir. A very young podium in a world championship that seems to be missing a leader.
“Morbidelli would never have dreamt of his first victory this way,” Carlo Pernat said during his routine evening live broadcast on race weekends and in the company of Paolo Scalera and Matteo Aglio. “He took off. He was first, and stayed there until the end, which is almost impossible for a beginner in the category like him. Valentino's school was very useful to Morbidelli, because he had already had some great starts. He was ready for the victory, but the technical problems stopped him. Yamaha has to take advantage of the two Misano races, because I don’t know how they’ll do in Barcelona.”
As was already mentioned, the world champion of the intermediate class for next year, Pecco Bagnaia, ranked behind the 2017 Moto2 world champion, after returning from a month-long stop caused by the knee surgery he underwent for his cruciate ligament. Ducati is still reflecting on the second bike for the factory team for 2021, and the fight is now a head-to-head between the rider from Piedmont and Zarco. Has Bagnaia managed to beat the French rider with this podium?
“I believe that, regardless of the podium, Pecco had already snatched the official Ducati bike. Bagnaia finished in second place, risking to finish first. In the last laps, he suffered a lot because of his knee. Next year, he’ll be there alongside Miller. The Australian rider had a good race again today, but he has to learn how to manage if he wants to win a world championship.”
Behind the two VR46 riders is Joan Mir. There are those who say he could be one of the favorites in this strange world.
“I spoke with Brivio, and he told me that, after the podium in Austria, Joan became someone else, and he learned to ride the Suzuki. Now he lets it glide. Before, he was so aggressive that he even got hurt under certain circumstances. The Suzuki is a great bike, and he could win the world championship. Again, about the Suzuki, I have to say something in favor of Rins because he has major shoulder problems, and he still closed in fifth place today.”
The absolute star of the Misano GP was Valentino Rossi, and not because of the contract he’ll be signing with Yamaha Petronas, which should happen in Barcelona, but because of his Academy, with the Morbidelli-Bagnaia duo in the MotoGP and the one-two Sky Racing Team VR46 win in the Moto2 with Marini and Bezzecchi, without forgetting the Doctor’s fourth place and the near-reached podium.
“By now, what’s new advances, and the only one who resists is Valentino Rossi, with his fake ID. Whoever came behind Rossi must ask himself questions. I’m mainly referring to Vinales and Quartaro. The Spanish rider has been out of it since the beginning of the year. I keep saying it, but Vinales is really embarrassing. He made a wrong choice in tire. The French rider, on the other hand, is suffering the pressure, and it’s not the first time, because he spent many years in the shadows before being recuperated by Boscoscuro, and that is not a good sign.”
Instead, after the exploits at the Red Bull Ring and Brno, KTM seems to have disappeared a bit. Will we see it be competitive again at the highest level?
“The KTM took advantage of the concessions by testing a lot in Austria and Brno. They did only one test here at Misano but, starting next Friday, they’ll be competitive again, because they figured out lots of things this weekend and, in the test on Tuesday, they’ll fix the bike. They tested everywhere with Pedrosa, while Aprilia only tested on a few circuits with Smith and Salvadori, which is a big difference.”
We talked about Fabio Quartararo’s débâcle, betrayed by too much desire to get things done and by the pressure of having to finish among the first at all costs. Who took dvantage of the French rider’s “zero” was definitely Andrea Dovizioso, anonymous and in difficulty in Misano, but incredibly and unexpectedly first in the world championship. Is the glass half full or half empty?
“He has to change his riding style. I see him as proactive. His only satisfaction is a first place in the standings at the moment. There aren’t many others. We need to understand if he still has the desire to change, and if he still wants to be a rider. There are some details such as nutrition, something he’s given up on a bit. He’s not the usual Dovizioso, and he can’t be like that. I wonder if Dovizioso still has problems with his collarbone after his fall doing motocross.”
About Ducati. Petrucci continues to not give encouraging signs. Could such a season also compromise KTM's 2021 performance? Wouldn’t it be better if he ends his experience with Ducati here and prepares for next year?
“Danilo is in a dead end tunnel. Contracts can be broken, everything can be done with severance pay, and that could be good for Petrucci. Many say that Lorenzo could return but, in my opinion, he’ll never return to racing.”
And what does Gigi Dall’Igna think?
“Seeing Bagnaia’s explosion and Dovizioso’s difficulties is his victory. He’s the one who no longer wanted Dovi on the team, and Petrucci had been eliminated earlier. Today, Pecco finished second in precarious physical conditions, and that means the bike works well. Dall’Igna’s strength was beating the Japanese in a territory unknown to them, that of aerodynamics. And now his ideas can be seen on all MotoGP bikes. Scalera is right when he says that Dall’Igna has been the technical man of the MotoGP for the past ten years. Just think of the fact that Honda wanted to ban all aerodynamic modifications and had even threatened to leave the category.”
You’re talking about Honda, and that makes us think of Marc Marquez. This world championship is so strange because of the world champion’s absence, but would Marc have suffered as the other top riders are suffering? Would his season have been fluctuating anyway?
“Ifs, ands, and buts don’t lead to anything. Marc wouldn’t have suffered with the new Michelins, and he proved it it Jerez during the first race. The doctors are taking Marc down a path that isn’t the greatest. Honda should fire Puig for everything he’s done and for the results. He’ll still do something dumb, and that would be good for HRC’s future.”
The Moto2, as we mentioned, was an all Italian race with three Italian riders on the podium. Bastianini, 3rd, signed with Ducati for next year. Will he be on the Avintia team?
“We’re better placed than the Spanish teams in the Moto2, so the near future is smiling down on us. Marini, Bezzecchi, and Bastianini were incredible today, and then there’s also Di Giannantonio. There will be many changes in the intermediate class next year, many will move. In 2022, the Avintia will be replaced by either the Leopard or the VR46 in the MotoGP, and this change could be anticipated for 2021.”
Aprilia, on the other hand, continues to wait for Iannone. Wouldn’t it be better if they just “threw themselves” at Andrea Dovizioso?
“Aprilia has decided to wait for Iannone. I had proposed Bastianini and, 25 days ago, they called me back, but then I heard nothing more from them. That’s not how you negotiate. Waiting for Iannone is a legitimate decision, because Andrea is a great talent, but Dovizioso is their card in the hole. I’m afraid that it’ll be very hard for Iannone to be acquitted. Going against WADA is nuts.”