The Bike Blog: Racing is back with a bang

Luke Wilkins

ecsImg21 Rossi Reuters 2304 300x225 The Bike Blog: Racing is back with a bangA Welshman, Englishman and a Doctor walked into a bar….


That is how you start a racing season! Rossi, back on a Yamaha, mixing it with the front runners & Crutchlow showing incredible potential and skill to mix it with the factory boys. Marquez living up to the hype surrounding him by nabbing a podium in his first Premier class race and Lorenzo doing his usual. Plus what about Chaz Davies? He showed the world his true pace and potential by doing the double at Aragon, and Shakey taking 3 out of 4 wins so far in the opening two rounds of BSB!

In other words; racing is back, and with a bang!

I don’t care how much of a Ducati fan you are, I think any real racing fan will welcome the return of Rossi to Yamaha, after his Qatar display. To see “The Doctor” hunting down the front runners, like he did in his own inimitable style, sent a shiver down my spine. After all of the hype and doubters saying that he had lost it -  that he was too old, or just didn’t want it anymore -  it was great to see him show his hunger for racing, like his ability, hasn’t diminished at all.

Even more exciting was seeing him beat the pretender to his throne in Marquez, even if Lorenzo wrapped up the win in style. Lots of people have been talking about the impact Marquez would have and whether he would be good enough yet be going toe-to-toe with Rossi et al. Well he answered those questions emphatically, and has shown that his natural talent and elbow scraping riding style will put him right in the mix in only his debut season.

It’s not just the top 3 that made an impression though, I was blown away by how “on it” Cal Crutchlow was, you could tell he was the quicker rider than the factory guys he was battling with, but just didn’t have the power on the straights to pull away. It must have been so frustrating for Cal, to even hang with those boys seeing what a disadvantage he was at, was incredible, and shows you how committed he is this year, even if it meant he was pushing so hard he ran wide. If he can keep that pace up though, I think you might find him getting more and more factory parts being supplied from Yamaha, that’s unless he gets too quick obviously, and starts threatening Rossi & Pedrosa. It’s a weird situation for Cal, and when I interviewed him last year, he said a satellite rider will never win the Championship, simply because the factory teams wont allow it, but I genuinely think he may sneak in a couple of race wins to build on his first podium last year, and I think he will be in the mix all season!

In World Superbikes we were at Aragon for round 2, and with one of the most bizarre race weekends of the year, in regards to bikes retiring, or having issues, we witnessed a Welshman announce himself as a true title contender! Chaz Davies rode like a banshee all weekend and pulled off a remarkable double, which was made even better by the fact he is at a new team, and everyone expected him to be playing second fiddle to his teammate Marco Melandri!

While its much too early to talk championships, he currently sits in second and, if he keeps this up, he may be ruffling a few well preened feathers, plus he will be incredibly exciting to watch.

Then there was British Superbike, which this weekend saw Shakey do the double at Thruxton. After he missed out on race 2 at Brands, and in the aim to be the first man to win the BSB Title four times, he looked more determined than ever. Sure race 2 was a crash-fest, but take nothing away from Shakey’s two race wins that put him clear top of the Championship and also made him the most successful BSB race winner of all time, with 44.

I am lucky to know Shakey quite well, and he is a top guy, and I know a lot of people questioned him turning down the chance to move to MotoGP, but you can see now just how determined he is to become the most successful BSB rider ever by taking his fourth title. Lowes, Brookes, Ellison Kiyo and a few more might have other ideas, but I think it would take a very brave man to bet against Shakey… I know I wouldn’t.

This weekend the MotoGP Circus arrives at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas for the first time but, if you can’t wait till then to get your biking fix, don’t forget to catch Bike World this Thursday at 9pm on Motors TV (Sky 413, Virgin 545). This week, we go to extreme lengths to test out the latest road tyres with MCN’s Michael Neeves, plus we will be finding out just how passionate The Prodigy’s Keith Flint is about racing!

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  • gumski

    Sorry Luke, you must have watched a different race to me – I saw yet another bore from heavily mis-matched machinery develop into yet another MotoGP procession. Crutchlow had a good pass on Bradl and Marquez did a decent move on Pedrosa and that was it. As for the CRT machines, they are only there to make grid numbers look half decent and could probably be given a run for their money by any Superbike. Why don’t the BBC spare us this and return to World Superbikes – a large grid of similar powered bikes stacked full with decent riders hungry for success. And TWO races.

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