Features 13 Mar 2019


The current week in road bikes with CycleOnline.com.au.

Words: Alex Gobert/Jeremy Hammer

How good was last weekend’s MotoGP opener in Qatar!? From the eventual race winners to the inspiring performance of our Australians on the grid, we couldn’t get enough of round one. This is Cycleview on CycleOnline.com.au.

It was a near repeat of one year ago in the premier class as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso inched ahead of reigning champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) across the line, making for plenty of intriguing post-race discussion – including the protests lodged against DesmoDovi’s Italian squad.

We’ve reported on a series of major talking points within news articles and a feature story since and, already, we cannot wait for round two in Argentina. The only real downside to these opening fly-aways is the early start (or late night!) that we’re forced to endure in Australia if we’re to watch live.

Image: Supplied.

To see Jack Miller so competitive across the weekend as he begins his second term with Alma Pramac Racing was a plus, even if the race didn’t go to plan because of that bizarre seat malfunction, but the promise is clear. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jack go ahead and notch up a number of podiums this season, which he will most certainly want to do if he’s to put himself in line for a factory contract ahead of 2020.

It was also so good to see Remy Gardner not only contend for the podium, but display his true potential throughout the weekend. He is no doubt the major improver year on year and it appears he has swiftly adapted to the character of Triumph’s new control engine. That, combined with his switch to the Kalex chassis, has worked wonders and now all of those difficult times could begin to pay off for the Aussie.

You’ll probably recognise that this year we’ve increased our grand prix coverage on the website, mostly because no more than ever partners are in search of the largest audience figures possible. While we’re powering ahead with our domestic coverage and following the Australians globally, it’s obvious that MotoGP content does provide a significant boost in terms of traffic.

Mixing those types of content together with new products and bikes, plus other non-competitive events where we have access to the assets, makes for a well-rounded platform that we definitely get a buzz out of piecing together on a daily basis. As much as many seem to deny it, this industry thrives on racing and we’re stoked to be able to deliver what we do with the limited resources that we have.

Moving forward, it’s back to World Superbike this weekend as that series continues in Thailand for round two – can anybody halt Alvaro Bautista? – and then next week there will be the second round of the Australian championship at Wakefield Park. Teams continue to test in the lead-up, so we’re anticipating a hard-fought affair in Goulburn. Here’s Jeremy with more…

Image: Supplied.

As Alex stated, what an incredible start to the MotoGP World Championship! As always with such an highly-anticipated round, there’s plenty to talk about, but there were also a number of road racing events that took place on the weekend, but of course, they seem to get overshadowed by the prestigious grand prix series.

Over at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia was the opening round of the 2019 Asia Road Racing Championship, which marked the maiden outing for the series’ all-new premier class ASB1000. Australian Broc Parkes, an Endurance World Championship (EWC) regular, lined up for the opener and will race the whole series with the factory-backed Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN.

The weekend didn’t entirely go to plan for Parkes as he acquainted himself to a lower-spec YZF-R1 than what he’s used to, however he still delivered some strong results, lodging a 3-5 scorecard in the two outings. At this stage, he’s the only Aussie in the championship, and if you were keeping track late last year, you’d know Next Gen Motorsports was attempting to make the grid after taking part in testing.

Obviously absent, there was confirmation this week that they couldn’t bring together enough funding to make a formidable campaign with team regular and triple Australian champion Glenn Allerton, although they are targeting an entry for the 2020 season.

Back to Qatar, the Asia Talent Cup kicked off alongside the grand prix, with a host of Australian contenders in the mix. Harrison Voight posted the strongest results across the two races with an 11-10 scorecard, while Luke Power was 10th in the first encounter before being unable to finish race two. Jacob Roukstone lodged a pair of respectable 15th place results.

That’s it for this week, we’ll catch you next Wednesday with another Cycleview feature! In the meantime stay tuned to CycleOnline.com.au for the latest daily content and be sure to follow us on social media via @cycleonline on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.