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Falls can be frequent in racing; some riders manage to shake the habit while others repeat themselves time and again.
Often when riders crash it's because they are pushing beyond the limit, learning to know where the limit is it often what promotes a rider from being fast to being a champion. Each year riders are labelled as ‘crashers’; some manage to shake their reputations while others cement it further. For the most part 2015 has had the same trends as the season before, but a few riders are on track to shake their 'crasher' label.
Chief amongst them is Andrea Iannone who has stepped to the factory Ducati Team in 2015. In his Moto2™ and early MotoGP™ days Iannone was certainly known as a crasher, huge amounts of speed tarnished by frequent falls. His rookie season in MotoGP™, 2013, saw Iannone fall 12 times during the year and 14 times in 2014 as he attempted to push his results further. His move to the factory squad was met with great anticipation, as well as some worries about how his habit of crashing may hinder the development of the Ducati.
To the surprise of many Iannone has become one of the most consistent riders in the MotoGP™ class with only one fall so far in 2015. Of the full time riders in the premier class only Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) have fallen less than Iannone, having not fallen at all so far. At the same point in last year’s championship Iannone had amassed six crashes. Across all three classes this is the most dramatic improvement of any rider, third in the standings is currently Iannone’s reward for this turnaround.
Another dramatic change has been in Moto2™ title contender Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) who has also fallen just once this season throughout the course of practice and races. At this stage in the championship last year the Frenchman had fallen five times, including a spectacular fireball producing tumble during 2014’s German GP. Throughout the course of 2014 Zarco would go on to fall 11 times, not an abnormally high amount but this year has so far seen a dramatic improvement.
Of the Moto3™ field Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3) is amongst the most improved, having cut his crash rate by a third in the first half of the year. At the end of the German GP in 2014 the Italian had fallen six times as opposed to just twice this year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the likes of Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing), Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing) who have each already fallen ten times this season, more than some other riders fell throughout all of last year. The trio are known as crashers, but interestingly most of Lowes’ crashes occur during practice, with the Brit often able to fight for the podium during the race. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) displayed a similar trait in his rookie MotoGP™ campaign, finding the limit during practice through unfortunate crashes.
Of all the classes the Moto3™ riders lead the crash table with 193 crashes so far this season across all participants in the class. Karel Hanika and Tatsuki Suzuki have the dubious honour of having crashed the most so far this season with a massive 11 falls each. Last year Hanika fell 24 times, the second most falls across all riders in the World Championship. It seems Hanika at least has work to do to shake his crasher label.
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