The latest edition of the MotoGP™ Podcast is up and running and joining hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld this week are regular analysists John Hopkins and Simon Crafar. In addition, ahead of the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup kicking off at the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland this weekend, the Podcast will feature interviews with Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing), Nico Terol (Openbank Angel Nieto Team) and Alex De Angelis (Octo Pramac MotoE) on what it’s like to ride an Energica Ego Corsa, while FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup Race Director Nicolas Goubert discussing what the 'World Cup' is all about.
In this episode, Hopkins disects two sides of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP coin. Maverick Viñales’ sublime Assen display was a stark contrast to how teammate Valentino Rossi fared. But does Viñales’ victory mean Yamaha have turned a corner?
“It’s hard to say, Viñales had a great weekend, a massive resurgence obviously to finish up on the top step again but Assen is a circuit that really suits Yamaha with the fast and flowing chicanes, the nature of the circuit,” comments Hopkins.
“I mean, we predicted going into Assen that it’d be a circuit that suited the Yamaha. To say that they’re going to be strong from here on out - I mean Rossi obviously had his struggles - it’s a circuit that suits them, it was great to see them running at the front and consistently up there between Viñales and Quartararo but it’s hard to say whether they’ve made that massive step again to be in the front consistently.”
The American then shares his thoughts on Rossi’s lacklustre run of three consecutive DNFs, with The Doctor’s pace way off Viñales’ across the weekend in Assen.
“It’s tough to see him struggling. It’s one of those things where it’s a snowball effect, when things start going wrong and you find yourself unable to run the pace that you want. You end up overriding and overthinking the situation. I think he’s in a big rut at the moment. That’s what I see from it.
“It’s gone wrong in so many ways, the bike isn’t working that well for him, he’s struggling for pace throughout the course of the weekend, he always comes through as a Sunday man but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out that way in the last few races. So I think he’s putting in a little bit too much effort. I hope he’ll get out of that rut, we all hope he does and we see him running up the front again but it’s definitely been his toughest season since he was on the Ducati.”
But if anyone is to turn something around, it’s a nine-time World Champion and Hopkins explains how you get out of a rut in motorcycle racing.
“It’s hard to say, you’ve really got to take a step back and get yourself back into that race mode and find the fun. Rossi’s always been - it’s why he’s still at the top of the sport - always been able to find the fun and you’ve got to not let your head and emotions overtake you. For me, looking back, it was about finding the fun again. I went through so many years of injuries and multiple personal issues, I lost the fun, lost track, and lost the whole reason why I got into racing in the first place - cause of the love for it. You have to take a step back to get your head back together and give it everything you can.
“But it’s so hard in the middle of the season, races coming at you one after the other. Tough to say whether he’s going to be able to get himself out of this rut for Sachsenring. I think in the summer break, he’s going to have some time to chill, going to go riding at the Academy and come back a lot stronger... Once you find that fun in riding again, you just seem to get back into that groove and it’s a finicky thing, a strange thing, but when you get into that race mode again it just seems like everything clicks and everything starts going right. It could be as simple as a day out riding with your friends. But I think here, it’ll need more than that.”
And with Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo racing to consecutive podiums in Barcelona and Assen after arm pump surgery, Hopkins discusses how it feels to have arm pump – something almost every rider experiences to some degree during their career.
“I had arm pump surgery just in the middle of 2005, funnily enough it was directly after Donington,” says Hopkins. “. I found Donington and Assen two of the most physically demanding circuits, particularly on your arms. Because you’re trying to hold an even throttle through the fast and flowing chicanes like we see at Assen and Donington down Craner Curves. That steady throttle while manoeuvring your body from left to right, arm pump is the WORST thing. You have absolutely no control over it when it hits you, your arms pump up and you lose all feeling in your hands and can barely hold onto the bars anymore when it gets really severe.”
New to the MotoGP™ Podcast this week is ‘Simon’s Scoops’, a part of the show where Crafar went to find out some extra information from teams after the race had finished in Assen. To listen to this and so much more, head over to the MotoGP™ Podcast!