ROUND 19: VALENCIA 2019
JAMES TOSELAND’S INSIDER INSIGHTS: 28th NOVEMBER 2019
Circuit Ricardo Tormo - valencia
I can’t believe I’m writing my final blog for the 2019 season already!
It’s usually a good sign when time appears to fly by and for me personally, the excitement of watching the racing this year has been huge factor!
From Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s storming second half of the season to take his first world title in the Moto 3 championship to Triumph’s incredible inaugural season in the Moto 2 Championship and for the rest of the MotoGP riders it was a demoralizingly dominant performance by Marc Marquez.
Marc Marquez didn’t finish lower than 2nd place in all 19 races this year except for his crash in America to clinch his 6th MotoGP championship in 7 years! Just outstanding!
There are 12 world champions on the grid in MotoGP and it’s incredible how dominant Marc was this year against such a strong field and doing it on a bike that was arguably not the best bike on the grid this year.
I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Marquez family. Marc and Alex have now won 10 world titles between them and they are a credit to their family and the world of motorcycle racing. They have brought a whole new level to the sport and it’s amazing to witness.
We were treated to some of the closest racing in the Moto 2 Championship as well this year. Triumph, in their inaugural year broke 16 lap records from the 19 races this season which is just phenomenal.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the Triumph Moto 2 project! You have exceeded all expectations this year and proved to the world just how strong the Triumph 765 engine is.
It was obvious to see how much the newly crowned champion, Alex Marquez loved his new Triumph this season from the very first test. Alex found a relationship between him and the bike that enabled him to find that consistency he was lacking in previous years on the Honda.
That relationship not only won him the 2019 Moto 2 Championship but it also bagged him one of the best MotoGP seats in the paddock!
I’m sure the first ever Triumph powered Moto 2 World Champion will be forever grateful to Triumph for entering in to the championship this year. It really was the difference Alex was looking for to allow him to showcase his true potential.
It was a shame that KTM got off to a steady start because Brad Binder rode so well once KTM’s second generation chassis came through, and he only missed out on the championship by 3 points with his victory in Valencia.
Like Alex though, Brad was rewarded for his valiant efforts this year with a promotion to the MotoGP class with the factory KTM Team for next year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him progress in the MotoGP class. He’s a good guy and a great rider.
I thought Thomas Luthi had a fantastic year. It’s not easy to keep the confidence needed to be competitive at that level after his very difficult season in MotoGP last year and I thought it said a lot about his character to finish 3rd this year. Great job.
The former Moto 3 champion, Jorge Martin really found his pace in the second half of the year and he’s definitely going to be challenging for the championship next year if he can stay away from the injuries that plagued him at the beginning of this season.
Some other outstanding performances for me were from Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernandez too. I’m sure they will be battling for the championship next year if they keep improving the way they are.
It was Alex Marquez’s 5 wins and 10 podiums though that clinched the 2019 Moto 2 Championship. The 2 time world champion will have the challenge of his life next season!
Sitting on the other side of the garage to Marc Marquez has been a lonely place for many a rider over the years and it’s going to be fascinating to see how the dynamic inside the HRC garage develops throughout the year. It’s a very sensitive situation for HRC.
Honda’s priority is to keep Marc happy to prevent him from moving to another manufacturer and that now includes giving his younger brother a bike he loves riding.
The Honda only seems to suit Marc at the minute though and if Alex doesn’t get on with the bike and Honda lose belief in him then this could frustrate Marc because I know Marc believes his younger brother’s ability is at the same level as his own if not higher.
Marc and Alex may be brothers but they have huge differences when it comes to what they will need from a motorcycle to suit their individual needs. Honda have a very difficult task this winter to develop a motorcycle that suits two very different styles and two very different statures.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how this one develops.
But, if Alex gels with his Honda the same way that Fabio Quartararo did with his Yamaha this year then Honda will have little to worry about! What a rookie!
To finish 5th in the championship in a brand new team this season was incredible. Razlan Razali and everyone in the Petronas Yamaha Team did an unbelievable job in their first year in MotoGP.
They had both of their riders finish inside the top 10 with Franco Morbidelli securing that 10th place finish overall at the final race in Valencia.
Maverick Vinales just hung on to 3rd place ahead of Alex Rins in the championship with his 6th place finish at the weekend but Maverick still has to find a little more confidence with his bike in the early part of the races and improve his starts too if he is to challenge Marc for the title next year.
Andrea Dovizioso had some great rides this year and thoroughly deserved his 2nd place finish.
If it wasn’t for Marc, Andrea and Ducati would be multiple champions by now but you know what they say “if my Auntie had......”
Everyone has such a big task to close the gap to Marc Marquez and Honda next season but with the exciting new talent of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales getting more and more confident, Yamaha have a huge responsibility to give those two riders what they need to challenge the 8 times world champion.
I really hope Yamaha do make another step forward because it would be lovely for Valentino Rossi to have a bike that allows him to challenge for the championship also. He may be 41 next season but he’s still challenging for podiums and it wouldn’t take much of an improvement to the bike to allow him to challenge for the wins and possibly that elusive 10th world title!
The whole world will be willing the legend on again next season!
I would like to pay my respect to Jorge Lorenzo and wish him all the very best in his retirement.
The 5 time world champion retires from this amazing sport with the grandest of accolades and that’s not world championships it’s the respect of everyone in the world of sport.
He is one of the best riders I have had the pleasure of racing against and I hope he finds peace and contentment in his new life.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there was another Lorenzo that everyone was talking about in Valencia and that was the new Moto 3 champion, Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Unfortunately he had a huge crash in Valencia but he rode brilliantly all year to win the championship.
If you have followed my blogs this year, you might be wondering why I’m finishing with Moto 3 this time. It’s because I wanted to make a special mention to John McPhee’s performance this year.
John finished 5th in the world this year and I thought he had an outstanding season and wanted to say how proud everyone was of him. John’s pace and consistency this season really proved to everyone in the MotoGP paddock that he is now a true title contender and I really hope this form continues for him. He should hit the ground running next year because the team that he appears so happy to be a part of have signed him again and I can’t wait to see some race wins next season, if not a title!
Last but not least I wanted to give a mention to the new Moto E Championship. Matteo Ferrari was crowned the first ever Moto E World Champion and our very own Bradley Smith finished runner up in its first year of racing so congratulations to all the riders that competed in its first ever season.
Moto E had such a devastating start when everything burned down to a cinder just before the first race and everyone involved in the Moto E Championship did an incredible job to rebuild everything and run a fantastic championship as well.
Moto E technology is so pioneering and I’m really looking forward to seeing how these bikes develop over the next few years. I think we will be enjoying Moto E technology ourselves on the bikes we have at home very soon.
Well, we have been treated to some amazing racing this year and I can’t wait for next season to start already!
I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my blogs and it’s been a pleasure working with Triumph this year.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and I hope 2020 will be a happy and prosperous year for you all.
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