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MotoGP, Motegi GP: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Dovizioso and Marquez mix emotions and adrenaline with the water. A grand Italy in Moto3, Lorenzo and Yamaha behind the blackboard in a timeout

MotoGP: Motegi GP: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Not every victory is the same. Winning on the enemy’s turf, beating him at his preferred speciality and stealing important points? Priceless! For everything else, there’s your favourite credit card. Andrea Dovizioso cleaned up and thrilled the spectators, but it takes two to battle and Marquez certainly did not fall short.

All the commotion overshadowed Petrucci who rode an outstanding race and took home another podium finish. The young Moto3 scrappers also did well with the Fenati-Antonelli-Bezzecchi one-two-three.

There are also those who prefer not to be in the spotlight. Like Lorenzo, who had high hopes but was unable to make anything come to fruition. Or the two men in blue, Valentino crashing out and Viñales who said goodbye to his chances at the championship title. It would be better for them to think about Phillip Island.

THE GOOD – An embrace in parc fermé is perhaps the most beautiful image of the Motegi GP. Better than a battle that left us all breathless and gave us a few more grey hairs at every pass in an offshore race on bikes that have more horses than a western. Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez held nothing back, mixing sweat and adrenaline with the rainwater to produce an explosive cocktail. Not for anyone with a weak stomach.

THE BAD – He blamed the tyres, but with the same choice, Dovi won the race. Zarco’s aggressive pass seemed to have more of a mental than physical effect on Lorenzo who was expected by everyone, including himself, to do well in Motegi. Instead, he had trouble getting the GP of Japan down like some Maki Sushi made with spoiled fish. He’ll have a few days to digest it.

THE UGLY – This one is a true mystery novel with an intriguing rider at the centre. Valentino maintains that Michelin changed the construction of the rear tyre, whereas the French categorically deny it. The only sure thing is that Yamaha managed to rewrite one of the best known fairy tales in reverse, transforming from a swan into an ugly duckling. Who is right? Inspector ector Clouseau is hot on the trail of the culprit.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT – In his first match point, Joan Mir kicked the ball out of bounds, or rather, he didn’t even touch it. Emotions play nasty tricks, but fortunately, point after point, the Spaniard has built an almost impenetrable fortress. All it takes is calm and a cool head, so Australia might be a nice place to celebrate.

THE CONFIRMATION – The transformation of Romano Fenati into a koi carp is now complete. In the past, the Italian had seemed like a hydrophobic dog every time he had to put rain tyres on. In Misano and Motegi, on the other hand, he was simply impeccable. He was able to celebrate with two Italians, Bezzecchi, who we will mention elsewhere, and Antonelli, who rediscovered his smile under the grey skies. They say that three is the perfect number.

THE ERROR – When a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo, in San Francisco a hurricane is unleashed. When you forget to tighten the oil plug on a Moto3 bike in Motegi, the delays to the GP of Japan are tremendous, with a trimming down of the Moto3 and Moto2 races by a few laps. For Migno, the day could not have started off worse, or so he thought… his mechanics found a way.

THE SURPRISE – You never forget your first time and Bezzecchi and Vierge will forever have their memories of the Japanese GP. The first podium for both in Moto3 and Moto2, and with two bikes Mahindra and Tech3, which are not exactly the bikes that have set the bar in their respective categories. The rain helped, but they were the ones who made the difference.

THE PASS – Going back to the Dovi-Marquez confrontation is too much of a given, so we choose Iannone who got the better of his teammate Rins on the final lap. A breath of fresh air for both of them and for Suzuki, all of whom were about to break the record for holding their collective breath for so long.

THE INTERESTING FACT – In Motegi the first title was awarded – Moto2 Rookie of the Year. It went to Francesco Bagnaia who, after losing his way during qualifying, got back on track in the race to finish at the foot of the podium.

I TOLD YOU SO – Marquez was sure on Friday: “If we were to race tomorrow, Lorenzo would win.” But, as usual, the race was on Sunday and it went how it went.

Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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