Luca Cadalora has been commenting on the Assen Grand Prix with us, during our usual Bar Sport. As always, Cadalora proved to be totally knowledgeable about what is happening in the MotoGP paddock and offered his competent and timely commentary on what we experienced over the Dutch weekend, obviously including the unexpected divorce between Vinales and Yamaha.
The first subject of our chat was for Assen, or at least for the circuit it used to be.
"Assen was a track where you simply could not make mistakes. The track ended with a white line and then green, only that it was real grass. It was a track that was truly out of the ordinary, you felt like you were going very fast even with the 125, not to mention when I raced in 250 and 500 ".
The Yamaha proved to be the best bike in the Netherlands, at least with Quartararo.
"This is a track that enhances the qualities of the Yamaha. Assen is an excellent track to evaluate a bike overall and I think the Yamaha has the best package at the moment. Then on other tracks things will change, maybe Ducati will save the day with its merits for example in Austria. But in Assen it was in great difficulty especially in the last part of the track, the last two corners were a challenge for them and this can also tell us a lot about the differences between the bikes. It was very interesting as a Grand Prix. The two races in Austria will be a good moment for Ducati. "
Cadalora: "The real surprise of Assen was Marquez"
Who surprised you in Assen?
"The first part of Bagnaia’s race was positive, but perhaps he could have brought home more. Pushing hard a lot at the beginning did not help him, but he is young and I can understand it. In these situations you should learn to be satisfied, but I can understand that it is not easy. Pecco had an excellent pace even at the end of the race, he could have achieved more. The one who really surprised me is Marc Marquez. Although they didn't talk much about it, on the first lap he was already 11th after starting 20th. I think I can understand what it means for him to ride a MotoGP in Assen in those conditions and in my opinion after the big impact he suffered in practice he did a great race, never giving up. It was a surprise, I didn't expect him to be so strong in the race".
Is Marquez really on his way back?
"Marquez in the second part of the championship could become someone who wins often and he could become a worry for the championship. In my opinion at Assen only a perfectly fit Marquez could have beaten Quartararo and I think this month's break will help him a lot to get back to what he was before" .
And what do you think of Vinales?
"Despite an unusual choice of tire, Vinales had a good race. When he got away from Nakagami and other slower riders, he rode hard until the end of the race. His indecision in overtaking at the start of the race is a characteristic that we have already seen from him and it penalizes him today. He could not fight it out for this reason with Quartararo, today anything could have happened. For Yamaha to score this one-two today was important, the M1 has shown that it is very strong ".
Cadalora: "Having Quartararo alongside can make you make certain decisions"
What about his decision to leave Yamaha?
"If Vinales wants to leave Yamaha, it's hardly understandable as a decision, but having a rider like Quartararo alongside can also make you do something like that. In 1993 no one wanted to become Rainey's teammate. The year before him there was Kocinski and the results had been quite disastrous. But I have always liked having a strong teammate, because this makes you improve, makes you stronger. In my opinion Valentino in 2016 with Lorenzo was a pairing that really made both of them improve. For a team the best thing is to have two strong riders, but sometimes you can't. Above all, they have to be strong in the head.
Do you think there may be doubts about technical treatment not being identical to his teammate?
"On the technical aspect, I can assure you that Yamaha gives the exact same support for the two factory riders and I believe there are few manufacturers that have this level of fairness towards their factory riders and I know what I'm talking about."
What’s your view of the possibility of Aprilia for Vinales' future?
"Aprilia had a great race in Assen and I think Aleix Espargarò is a rider who goes really fast. He's one of those who can do everything on the bike, it's not easy to find someone to put alongside him. When he raced with Suzuki, the bike was in its early stages and we have never actually seen him in a top MotoGP team, but he's doing a great job with Aprilia. He also duelled with Marquez, they were like two mutts on the track. I don't think Vinales will get along well with the Aprilia. He has only had MotoGP bikes powered by a 4 inline, switching to a V4 after having raced for many years with this type of bike is not easy. "
Cadalora: "Money isn't everything, a rider also wants a lot more"
Aprilia would not be able to offer the same salary as Yamaha. Will this affect Vinales' decision?
"You know, money is not everything. It is important that you feel wanted by the manufacturer you are racing with, but for riders it is much more important to have the right environment, the technical guarantees that allow you to express your talent. There are many aspects that make a rider choose to do one thing over another, but money is not necessarily the most important aspect ".
What do you think about Ducati? Is this trident working?
"Ducati finds itself in this situation because of a need rather than a reasoned choice in my opinion. Maybe it made choices looking at the long term rather than at the present moment and in my opinion any one of Miller, Bagnaia and Zarco can become a real top rider. First it seemed like it could be Miller because he won two races, then we thought of Bagnaia. But the most consistent remains Zarco, who seems to me a really important rider for Ducati. He seems to me the one who understands first of all how to sort out the bike quickly, he is the one who can say more clearly than the others what is not working and in some cases it is something that is very convenient for the engineers. With this sort of help you can solve problems first and Ducati definitely needed it at Assen. Maybe in Austria we will understand something more, because there the Desmosedici will have a small advantage. I have known Zarco since his Yamaha days, he has qualities and he is a sensitive rider. But sometimes I don't like him because he rides too aggressively at times. He has other qualities and I like to see him ride. "