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11 days ago
By Nick Harris

At the crunch, it's the actual racing that counts

Nick Harris shares his thoughts on a fantastic Austrian GP weekend and draws comparisons between MotoGP™ and Formula One

I wondered just what Ross Brawn thought at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday as he watched the epic duel between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez exchanging paint schemes in their fight for victory. The very accomplished and highly experienced Brawn is widely acclaimed as the man to bring the fizz and excitement back to four wheels and Formula One.

Hopefully he enjoyed the racing and I’m sure did not need reminding that when it comes to the real crunch, it’s the actual racing out on the track that is the key to success. You can introduce brilliant technical innovations, clever rule changes to try and ensure closer racing and have every well-known celebrity in the world filmed on the starting grid but it’s the action on the tarmac that gets the adrenalin flowing through the veins of both the crowds and commercially probably more important, the television audiences. ™

Ninety-two thousand fans in the Austrian sunshine embraced just what MotoGP™ is all about. Flag waving, flare burning and vocal, they just loved everything that MotoGP™ had to offer in a day of noise, excitement with rivers of adrenalin flowing while the riders played their part as always. Superb Moto3™ and Moto2™ contests were the ideal dessert for the MotoGP™ race and Lorenzo and Marquez did not let us down with a head to head confrontation. You could not write the script with the two Spanish World Champion team-mates at Repsol Honda next year.

This season, or the last few seasons I have been lucky to witness, have made me a little bit selfish because I was disappointed there were no records broken in the MotoGP™ race on Sunday. The closest ever top ten premier class finish in the 70-year history of the sport at the previous round in Brno. Just 8.3 seconds separated that top ten while just a couple of rounds earlier the closest ever top 15 finish. In Assen it was 16.04s that elapsed between the winner Marc Marquez and 15th placed Dani Pedrosa, crossing the line after a breathless 25 laps of the Cathedral.

Of course, I was not disappointed on Sunday because you need not look further than those two at the front fighting for the lead to provide enough excitement and anticipation to keep you going until they reach Silverstone in two weeks’ time.

When Formula One visited the Red Bull Ring earlier in the season just the three leading cars finished on the same lap of the 71-lap race, but one thing they produced that MotoGP™ has not done for 28 barren years was a Dutch winner. Instead of the Rossi or KTM flags filling the hillsides it was Dutch orange of Max Verstappen. I waited 35 years for a British Premier class winner and hopefully those loyal Dutch fans will remain that patient.

In the meantime, enjoy that racing because when it comes to the crunch, that’s what really counts.

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