So then, gentlemen going in circles on two wheeled vehicles very fast. Does anyone partake?
Tomorrow is the first race of the 2013 season and it's a night race at Losail in Qatar. There's a potententially facinating season ahead because of the recent history of the main players:Jorge LorenzoYamaha Factory Racing
Mr Consistant. Last years champion although you could argue that he spent the final few races fighting a rear guard action
against Dani Pedrosa who was charging in lieu of Casey Stoner (retired now and racing barges in Australia) then cracked under pressure
in the gloves off race in Valencia after he'd secured the championship. He's been nicknamed 'the Metronome' due to his unfailing ability to but in lap after lap within 100th's of a second of each other and hit the same bit of tarmac over and over again. This year he's once again sharing his garage with Valentino Rossi his old rival in YFR from 2009/2010, they really really didn't get on
. Things are eerily civil between them so far but it could all erupt within the season depending on Rossi's form. I like Lorenzo, he's matured from being a bit of arrogant bastard to a ice cool pro but this is going to be the season where he will cement himself as one of the greatest if he can take the championship.Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda (HRC)
I like Dani, he's fast and small enough to fit in your pocket - the fastest rider never to win a championship. Has been known to be a little too passive and has been unlucky enough to always have team mates that are stellar talents which continues this year with team mate (and rookie) Marc Marquez. To me, Dani changed last year after Casey Stoner was injured in Indianapolis
and was out for a few races. He uncharacteristically took the fight to Lorenzo and just out raced
him time after time. Dani is my pick for the championship this year, assuming we get the new Dani, not the old. He wants to beat Lorenzo after last year and wants to beat yet another fast Spaniard in his team mate.Valentino RossiYamaha Factory Racing
The Doctor is... in? There's not much that can be said about Rossi that hasn't already been said. Following a disastrous 2 years with Ducati he's back with what will probably his last chance to take the top prize. He made the right descision to go to Ducati but the PR side was a disaster that's caused a massive backlash. It was the right decision as he'd won the championship on Honda and Yamaha bikes already, going to the italian marque as an italian to win on another championship was pure passion but he and the bike just didn't gel with only 3 podiums in 2 years and no wins in those seasons which was a first for him. Back on the Yamaha and it's suddenly business as usual - he's back in touch with the best times. Never bet against Rossi he may not be a spring chicken but he's cunning and within that amiable exterior lies a racing god.Cal CrutchlowMonster Yahama Tech 3
Cal is quality. Aggressive, willing to learn and very very British
. His main issue is that he's as slow as molasses of the line and has consistency issue. Nicknamed alternatively 'Gnasher' and 'The Honey Badger' due to the fact he isn't scared of anyone on the track
. If he can manage to raise his game this season he will be great and I, for one, want to see him pushing and fighting with the best.Andrea DoviziosoDucati Team
Rossi's replacement at Ducati and their next great hope. I was initially surprised that he went to Ducati as I've always considered him a super smooth rider and felt that the Duke responds best to being ragged by the likes of Stoner and De Puniet. There's no doubt he's a great racer and severly fucked over by Honda in 2011. He had some epic races in the 250 class against Marco Simoncelli on an underperforming Honda where he shone but has never seemed to capture that form. What is a shock is that he's placing well in practice times on the Ducati so he might just provide the goods. Watch out for him, he know's how to race and is still hungry to win. This year might be his setup year on the Ducati and it might really happen next year (especially with the influx of Audi money) but we shall see.Marc MarquezRepsol Honda Team (HRC)Oh boy
. The sheer speed of this kid
. He's the fastest natural rider
I've seen since Stoner. But he's fucking mad. Doesn't seem to know where the line
is, or even if there is a fucking line at all
(that was during a cooldown
lap in qualifying/practice) the only rider he hasn't dominated is Scott Redding
. He will podium this year. He might even win races but I doubt he'll win the championship this year. What remains to be seen is if he has a rookie season like Jorge Lorenzo in 2008 and smashes himself
to pieces finding 'the limit'.
Well, that's my pick of the contenders this year. I'll follow it up soon with a post about the rest.