Krusty shares his opinion on the 2011 MotoGP season in his latest CycleOnline column.
For me, the 2011 MotoGP season to date seems like one of the most unpredictable motorcycle racing seasons that I have ever seen.
Based upon the pre-season testing schedule, we all thought that it would be a walk in the park for Casey Stoner and the Repsol Honda, especially with the concerns of the Yamaha having a lack of speed.
We are lucky enough to witness an ever changing, as well as an ever evolving progression in the final year of the 800cc era. For sure, it is the same protagonists at the front of the field… Minus a certain monkey looking Italian, but at least we can plonk ourselves on the couch not knowing who will walk away with it at every event.
Stoner on the Honda looks as comfortable as he can possibly be, yet still shows the manipulation and man handling of a bike, that us mere mortals can only dream to achieve. Lorenzo on the Yamaha started the season in a way that we were a little unsure of.
Dani Pedrosa has been under a cloud of uncertainty with his injuries, and Valentino Rossi made the Italian dream switch to Ducati.
So there you have it, the four ‘Aliens’ fighting it out again, or that was the way we thought it was supposed to be. Even though the boys are currently on their mid-year break, I can guarantee you that there is anything but relaxing going on.
I have no doubt that the rider with the most to worry about would have to be Rossi. Having made the switch from Yamaha to Ducati, we all would have expected him to shine in one form or another, but unfortunately he has struggled to come to grips with the new bike.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not bagging Vale in any way, but I think that any racing enthusiast like me would prefer to see him up the front battling with the rest.
Whether Ducati has set its focus on the 1000cc GP12, and has resigned their fate of the 2011 year is something that we all can speculate about, but the addition of the GP11.1 shows that they are trying to make something happen.
Let’s just hope that they get some firm direction before the year is done and dusted.
Then you have the move to Honda by Casey Stoner. After a very successful partnership with Ducati, he has been lured by the Japanese giant with the hopes of securing the one thing that Honda does not have, an 800cc MotoGP World Championship.
Casey brings a no-holds-barred, hang it out style that Honda has needed for quite some time, and the ingredients seem to mix quite well for a successful year. I suppose that we will have to wait and see if it pays off for all involved.
Dani has continued his robot like approach to racing, but unfortunately, he has suffered with injury for the season to date. We all know that when Dani is on his game, he is extremely hard to beat, and we can only wonder how the points standings would look if he was fully fit for all of the races. I know that we have not seen the end of his season charge.
Then you have Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha. This guy has pulled some of the most brilliant races I have ever seen. He never backs down, lays it on the line every corner of every lap, and that is why he is still in the running.
Admittedly, Yamaha has certainly pulled some ground back on the Honda, as far as development is concerned, and that allows Jorge to perform at his best. Personally, I think that this title will be a showdown between the young Spaniard, and the Australian.
But, we should not forget about the rest of the field, especially as there are a few riders that deserve a mention right here….
Ben Spies. Enough said. He has had a bit of a slow start to the 2011 season, but he is finding his footing in the Factory Yamaha squad. His win at Assen was a textbook approach to racing, and I believe that he will only get stronger as the remainder of the year goes by.
Having raced alongside Ben in the AMA some years ago, I know that he thrives on stability, and once he is fully settled in that Factory Yamaha outfit, he is going to whip some serious ass.
Then you have the leader of the ‘Hair Bear Bunch’ commonly known as Marco Simoncelli. On a factory bike, and stirring up the entire field with his speed, and….. well, his indiscretions on the track.
To be honest, I watch every race wondering who Marco will stick into the fence. I love that style of riding though…. (No I did not fence everyone I came across on the track, just the people I did not like …. Jokes y’all).
Marco has some serious pace going on, and if he can translate that into race performance, we will definitely see a new winner before the season is out.
The third Repsol Honda rider. Andrea Dovizioso. So close, but yet so far away. What makes it very difficult for Dovi, is that Honda are talking about only running a two bike team in 2012, and unfortunately for him, Casey and Dani are the pilots winning races. Dovi is always there or thereabouts, but I am not sure if that will secure him a seat for 2012.
My personal favourite crew is the Tech 3 team with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow. Colin would have to be the light of the paddock, with his laid back approach, and fun-loving nature.
Yet he still manages to be right at the front of the non-factory teams, after so many years of being in the game, and especially after so many people thought that he should just pack up and retire.
Those people just don’t know Colin like I know him. Cal has been a bit of a revelation in the MotoGP arena this year. Venturing to so many circuits that he hasn’t seen before, up against the best riders on the planet, and acquitting himself very respectably. We can expect big things from Cal in the future.
So here we are, summer break for the riders, recharging themselves for the fight of their lives, as well as the contracts for the return of the 1000cc power sliding monsters that we all love.
Who will take the season by the neck and choke out some much needed victories? My bet is that it will come down between Casey and Jorge, but we have not seen the last of the other guys.
All I can hope is that when you read this…. You have the same feeling that I do when I watch, and you are on the knife edge of throwing something at the TV when something unexpected happens.
After all, this is what we watch this fantastic sport for.