- Apr 8, 2014
The 2015 MotoGP Championship will commence battle this upcoming weekend, spaniard Marc Marquez93 and his Honda seem ready to defend his double world title from Yamaha and.... Ducati?
It will be a sick year in MotoGP for several reasons: from the return of Aprilia and Suzuki to the amazing Ducati overhaul performed by ex- Aprilia boss Gigi Dal'Ignia, but lets start with the technicalities, rules and boring stuff (..not).
Tyres: this will be the last season for Bridgestone as MotoGP single tyre supplier, never the less this has not stopped development, this year they have introduced a new extra hard rear and increased the amount of GP's were the new asymmetric front will be available. In good theory the riders will get to race the best Bridgestone Battlax ever manufactured which are legendary specially for their front-end grip.. the riders being able to brake very deep and at crazy lean angles.
In 2016 Michelin will take over as single supplier. Tests have been carried out since mid last year and will continue all season from factory teams, this to unsure the safety of the new tyres, but more work is needed since several riders had issues last month at the Sepang pre-season test 2.
ECU: This is the last year the factories will be allowed to use their own software, 2016 will dictate all bikes move to a standard software developed in conjunction by IRTA and regulated by Dorna.
Teams and Riders: the first big news is that factories Suzuki and Aprilia have returned to the series, Aprilia is back in a donkey work season (their team running near the end of the grid in pre-season tests) their aim will be to get some points and get ready for next year. Suzuki on the other hand has had 1 full year of testing around with the circus and come much better prepared, their bike handles very well and they have found some much needed extra horse power after resolving reliability issues with their engines, also they hired under-rated/Open Class Champion Aleix Espargaro41 and crazy talented Moto2 Rookie of the Year Maverick Viñales25, pretty much the best available to them. Pre-season tests have been strong and Aleix's aim will be top 5 in their come back year to the master series.
1 year it took Gigi Dal'Ignia to overhaul Ducati (what a genius!) and do with the GP15 what 5 previous bikes couldn't do: TURN. Apparently the engine configuration wasn't the problem but rather its size and design. By creating a new version of the engine (much more compact and movable) and adding the much improved GP 14.3 chassis the bike has now gained relatively great handling and balance, making the understeer issue disappear since its first exit on track. Ducati riders Andreas Dovizioso4 and Iannone29 are amazed on how easy it is to ride the bike, but have expressed instability in the last part of corner-entry hard on the brakes, thing that shouldn't take the Italian team long to solve. Still much work is to be done on setup and just getting used to riding it but they have already managed to sandwich Marc Marquez93 in the top 3 at the pre-season test in Losail and it being the season opener next weekend.. a night race might be just what they need for the stars to align and win a GP this season.
Before getting to the big shots, lets talk about the Satellite Teams and Open Bikes for a moment, Scott Redding45 gets his wish: a brand new shiny Marc VDS-owned Factory-Satellite Honda (and team), it doesn't get better than that fellas, your own team, a copy of the best bike and no pressure for the first year... I guess the only other thing he could've asked for was that legend Cristian Gabarrini would be his crew chief. Which takes us to Jack Miller43, the Moto3 runner up has the balls, when HRC offers you a 3 year contract to jump Moto2 and go straight to MotoGP what do you do? "you freaking take it" of course this year is going to be hard for Jack-Ass on the Open LCR Honda, but he will have the best help HRC can provide including crew chief Gabarrini who led (also ozzie) Casey Stoner27 to 2 world championships, this will be a test of character for Miller and can make or brake him.
Cal Crutchlow35 is ready as well, having spent the last 2 years on 2 different bikes it seems getting used to the (other) LCR Factory-Satellite Honda wasn't that hard, he posted quick lap times at pre-season tests and just needs to work on consistency according to him.
The Tech 3 Team is going to make Cal's life difficult for sure, returning riders Pol Espargaro44 and Bradley Smith38 are strong, hungry and consistent, Pol will be looking to get his first podium this year.
Now on to the big (biggest) boys: Yamaha needs to interrupt Marc Marquez93 domination and they need to do it now, Ducati are on their heels and it's about to turn into a 3-way battle. To help they have introduced a new version of their seamless transmission (up/down vs only up) which is taking time to dial in but will help the rear tyre in the last part of the race (were Honda seem to have the edge) by making the bike smoother, improving tyre durability. Valentino Rossi46 and Jorge Lorenzo99 are 97% there and are definitely main title contenders, which one of them will be strongest at the end of the season will be a great battle on its own.
Dani Pedrosa26 is the great Top 4 underdog, this might be his year though, but if he didn't win it on a factory Honda in the last 6 years he will need more than balls this one: he will need to be perfect and clever. That's what you need to beat Marc Marquez93: be perfect, clever and aggressive (and lucky?). Marc has never finished a year not-Champion in the premier class, lets see if he can do it 3 years in a row... though judging from pre-season it will be more difficult than last year, but somehow his all out aggressive (Casey Stoner27 evolved/elbow dragging/corner entry tail sliding) riding style comes out on top.
This is it gentlemen, the championship has started a transformation from a Honda vs Yamaha championship to a real multi-factory competition, hopefully Ducati and in the near future Suzuki will take things to another level for our pleasure and excitement. It will probably be the most competitive MotoGP season in the last 5-6 years and it all starts this upcoming thursday!