Don’t be fooled. The MotoGP season doesn’t start at the first race in Qatar, 20th March. It starts now at the three day testing in Sepang, and already there’s been plenty of action.
As tempting as it is to speculate following a single test, it’s always exciting to find something out of the ordinary which seems to tie in with last year. Of course it’s always a given that regardless of their first test positions, the ‘Aliens’ will be fighting at the top end – there’s just too much skill, experience and money for that to change. However, the Ducatis have been growing in strength since the beginning of last season and with three Ducatis in the top six, it’s great to see Danillo Petrucci taking a close fourth behind Dani Pedrosa’s Honda. Jorge Lorenzo takes a comfortable first position with his Yamaha team mate Valentino Rossi trailing him in second by over a second. Could this be an early signal to the strength of the Ducati in 2016? I for one certainly hope so.
As we’ve seen before Marc Marquez doesn’t seem to be bothered about setting fast leader times in testing. With new versions of the 2016 engines being tested by both factory Honda riders, he clearly has his priorities set on ensuring all areas are covered to put him in the best possible position to fight from the start with the best bike he can get. After a difficult start to the season last year, you can bet he’s going to do everything he can to avoid a repeat in 2016
Very positive initial tests on the brand new Michelin tyres in Valencia last year showed nearly all riders were significantly faster compared to the Bridgestones. However, there were numerous crashes on the new rubber with 30 instances in all. So have Michelin now sorted this problem?
I think race tyres are like the Internet in the office. If there’s a problem, everyone knows about it and it gets sorted straightaway. No news about the tyres has followed the initial day’s test, so you’ve got to believe that this is a big thumbs up to Michelin. Of course they’ve had a full year’s development time to achieve this level. But when you consider the never ending challenges imposed by these top level rocket machines, constantly changing track conditions and super sensitive riders, it’s by far from a walk in the park. Like the Internet, it’s easy to pass off our reliance on something that we need day to day. But tyres on a 2-wheeled 250+hp rocket being the only interface between rider and the ground, it’s a matter of staying aboard or crashing. Ultimately they’re trusting these things with their lives.
Ducati have announced that the 2 time MotoGP world champion is to join the field on track for Tuesday’s testing. It’s the first time in over three years that Stoner will be sharing the track with his former rivals and the first time he will riding alongside Marc Marquez. Let’s not forgot how dominant Stoner was when he had a bike he was comfortable with, and one of those was the Ducati that no one else could seem to ride. Not even Valentino. He’s made no secret how happy he is feeling being back on a Ducati, with Saturday’s times on the GP15 clearly reflecting this. Personally I think he’s making his intentions clear with how he wants this all to progress – he wants to race. I’m sure he will get his wildcard appearance in 2016, but I’m also sure he has some background agreement with Ducati next season to race. Speculation I know, but there must be a good reason for his new found optimism which he’s happy to express.
Early signs of Spring are here with the Daffs popping up and blossom already showing on some trees, not to mention the longer days becoming increasingly noticeable. These are the signs to any serious/excited seasoned biker that it’s time to get your toy out of the garage. Why not treat yourself to a new machine this year? And with so many great used bikes around that are excellent value for money, we’re really spoilt for choice. Don’t worry if money is an issue though, your friends at Creditplus have got you covered. We don’t just offer finance options for cars, we can also help you get on the bike of your dreams – just get in touch and we will let you know if we can help, with no effect to your credit file. It’s a no-brainer – visit our motorbike finance site for more info.
Go on treat yourself – you’re worth it!