With an unforgettable weekend at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli followed by a pivotal one day Test on Monday, there is certainly no shortage of Talking Points from our recent trip to the Adriatic coast.
Without further ado, here’s what has got everyone talking!
“If this is the base, if this is the bike, then we are far”
Hot on the heels of an unforgettable San Marino GP came the Misano Test, and all eyes were focused firmly on the Japanese manufacturers. The future of Marc Marquez has been hotly debated in recent days and weeks, with his initial feelings aboard the 2024 RC213V prototype expected to be pivotal to his decision. However, it seems the Repsol Honda rider is underwhelmed by the first offering of the future bike.
“The riding style is quite different but, in the end, the problems are the same, so we need to keep working. Of course, you always expect more. If this is the base, if this is the bike, then we are far. We need to work and change many things.
“There's plan A, plan B, and plan C… I am clear about what needs to happen for each of them. But there isn’t much time. There is a deadline. Around India, Japan I will decide.”
You can read the full story on that HERE!
“I expected much better”
Over at Yamaha, Fabio Quartararo finds himself in an equally difficult situation, and it appears he too is less than pleased by the Iwata factory’s latest package for 2024.
“We tried the new engine, I expected better, but we need to analyse more,” said the 2021 World Champion.
“We were going much slower and the feeling on the bike was not good so we decided to go back to the standard aero.
“I expected much better, so let’s see in the next Test in Valencia.”
“I’m not even a factory rider, so it’s not on me to win the Championship”
Looking at the competitive action from the weekend, Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin completed the clean sweep with pole position, Tissot Sprint and Grand Prix race honours. As a result, it’s moved him to within 36 points of reigning Champion and current leader Bagnaia. Post-race, the Spaniard distanced himself from a title charge, though whether it is the truth or an early bout of mind games remains to be seen.
“My target is to win races. I’m not even a factory rider, so it’s not on me to win the Championship. I feel that I don’t have that responsibility. For sure if I have the chance, as I am having now, I will try to get it, but my day will come when I’m a factory rider and for the moment I am not. For sure try to enjoy the moment, but it’s not on me.
“You finished third, no?”
Rivals on track, friends off of it, we’ve become accustomed to hearing some playful trash-talking between Championship contenders Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). Sunday was no different as both boasted fresh helmets for the San Marino GP, and their competitive spirits shone through during the post-race Press Conference.
Bezzecchi: For sure. My helmet is a lot more beautiful (than Bagnaia’s).
Bagnaia: Yeah, but it’s different stories.
Bezzecchi: Yeah, but I have a story behind the helmet.
Bagnaia: We know.
Bezzecchi: This is why.
Bagnaia: You’ve been overtaken on the outside twice this weekend.
Bezzecchi: You finished third, no?
Having completed their verbal jousting, ‘Bez’ detailed the inspiration behind his cool lid design, before giving Bagnaia one last dig!
“It’s a good story. On Italian TV, when I won the first time, they started to say ‘Simply the Bez.’ Together with MotoGP’s own media, they started to call me this. There is a song that is ‘Simply the Best,’ of course, that is very similar to my name. So, I have a lot of passion for music. I listen to every kind of music and everything, so I went to a Chinese shop to buy a microphone, and with the guys of Starline, we made this picture. It’s actually me, but then we modified this with a lot of colors because, for me, summer means a lot of colours and a lot of shiny colours! But then everyone makes a retro helmet, so I wanted to make like a 2023 helmet, so I put Spotify on the helmet.
“I named my song ‘Simply the Bez’ by Marco Bezzecchi. Then I also made a playlist like ‘Same beach, same team,’ ‘Don’t Crash Me Again,’ ‘Super Stylish Helmet.’ These three minutes are the pole position lap times that I had. So, it was like a summer helmet with a new release for this race. Much cooler than Pecco’s helmet.”
“He has one of the best riding styles in the world”
KTM Test Rider Dani Pedrosa made his second wildcard appearance of the campaign in Misano, and ‘The Little Samurai’ once again impressed on his return. Claiming fourth in both the Tissot Sprint and Sunday race, the #26 reflected on just missing out on a dream podium.
“I had a big highside and almost crashed again. I lost touch once more, I was all the time P4, not far from the first three. I was thinking ‘if I can get close, maybe they will fight and there will be an opening. I can try for the podium’.
“On the last laps, Pecco was struggling a bit more. I said ‘one last push, try to be close, and maybe plan an attack in the last two laps’. Then, I did. I was right behind him. Then when he felt I was coming, he again put in some last energy and was able to hold me back.
“So, very close to the podium. Again similar race to yesterday, just longer. But a really cool weekend. Happy. Thanks to my team and all my mechanics. They did a great job.”
His main on-track rival over the weekend was Bagnaia, with the Italian and Pedrosa locked in battle for a podium place in both the Tissot Sprint and feature race, and the World Champion showered praise on the 37-year-old.
“I think I don’t need to say anything about Dani. His story tells everything about him. He was always impressive. He was always so competitive. I was here when he was testing and I was impressed by the work he was doing. Absolutely incredible being competitive like this right now.
“Dani always looked impressive. I didn’t have the possibility to follow him riding. I think he has one of the best riding styles in the world. He’s so narrow in every corner. When he picks up, he’s so perfect in every line. Was always impressed. It’s always fascinating, his riding style. But I didn’t have the chance to follow him.”
“It will take another week to be fully fit”
Both Bezzecchi and Bagnaia rode through the pain barrier at Misano, having picked up injuries from separate incidents the week before. It made their Sunday podiums all the more impressive, but do they expect to have recovered fully before touching down in India?
Bezzecchi: I expect to feel good. I don’t have a big injury, but it’s creating me a lot of pain. I didn’t expect this. I expect that now with this week off I can work on the hand every day, two, three, four times a day and try to arrive to India in my best shape.
Bagnaia: I think I will arrive to India in my best shape, 100%. The biggest problem in my knee is the hematoma and it’s going down, so I will not have any problem anymore to force on the leg. For sure it will take another week to be fully fit, but on riding I think I will be 100% in India.