Author: Myanna Wedes

The 2022 Austrian Grand Prix was excellent from start to finish with the ride of the day going to Fabio Quartararo considering his ability to transform the Yamaha in the hardest of situations, finish in second place and regain points from his rivals Aleix Espargaro and Pecco Bagnaia. The Yamaha rider puts that Yamaha in places it just should not be when you assess the other riders on board the same or similar bike: Franco Morbidelli, Darryn Binder and Andrea Dovizioso. His fellow teammates are nowhere in comparison! We certainly must acknowledge the win by Bagnaia. It was an excellent milestone for the World Championship, Ducati as a team and himself as a rider with three back-to-back victories. The insight and mentoring from Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi are working and Bagnaia knows it because Ducati are back on track with a real shot at a title. The team who struggled the most over the weekend was Aprilia MotoGP Team. Both riders did not look comfortable, and it showed during the race. A Espargaro did his best to keep as many points as possible whilst still riding with an injury. In addition to this, his launch device did not work properly at the start and therefore A Espargaro was on the back foot from the moment the race started. The front holes hot device upset the rhythm for the Spanish rider for a few laps until he found his form and fought back to bag as many points as he could even though he knew Quartararo and Bagnaia were battling at the front. Aprilia did not look comfortable with their machine and the unique layout of the Austrian circuit. We feel they are happy to forget this weekend and move onto the upcoming events where they will be competitive once again. The World Championship is heating up and there is everything to play for when it comes to the top step of the podium and title ladder. 

If you watched the race, you would know how hard Quartararo was pushing his Yamaha. The fact the next closest Yamaha was outside of the top ten showcases to the fans the talent of the young Frenchman. Pushing to the maximum as if you are ready to crash is the definition of “El Diablo” and Marc Marquez would have been analysing his lap times, consistency, and manoeuvres closely as he patiently waits to return to the sport. Right now, everything is going in the direction of Bagnaia, and Ducati are loving every minute of having their bikes dominate the grid. Australian rider and teammate Jack Miller was sensational all weekend and proved his comfort levels with the bike since making change with his riding position. “Jackass Miller” is dynamic, and we really hope this also translates to the KTM when he jumps on board to ride for them full time in 2023. Miller did a fantastic job holding off as many riders as possible and battling Jorge Martin until the end to secure the podium finish. Martin was ambitious and crashed out, although remounted, and finished the event with his leathers open which caused a stir amongst fans and journalists considering Quartararo’s treatment previously for having his leathers undone. It will be a talking point and we look forward to seeing how the next race unfolds with Martin who is crossing his fingers that he will be chosen for the factory ride alongside Bagnaia.

Francesco Bagnaia #63: 

“It was a great weekend. We weren’t very fast, but after FP4, we found a solution that allowed us to be competitive in qualifying and consistent in the race. In order not to risk problems, we made maybe one tyre choice that wasn’t quite right, and in the last laps, I suffered a little, but in the end, we made it. I’m very happy and can’t wait to get back on track in a fortnight for my home race at Misano”. 

Fabio Quartararo #20:

“It’s a shame that I didn’t do a good first lap. But, anyway, I feel that we got the best result possible for us today. We were missing a little bit for the win, but I’m super happy about my race. I feel like we fought off our main competitors all weekend, and especially in the race I fought like a lion. I was on 100% risk today over 28 laps. But I was super focused. I made a few mistakes and lost the front so many times, but my reaction time and concentration were really good today. I feel proud of myself! And even with Pecco finishing in front of us, this has given me a boost of energy for the next races.”

Jack Miller #43: 

“I’m thrilled with today’s result. I pushed as hard as possible to stay with Pecco until the end, but after I tried to pass him, he brought up the pace, and it was difficult for me to respond. Then, I started to suffer a bit with the tyres towards the end. We fought hard with Fabio and Jorge for second place, and I was hoping to get the better of them, but in any case, it’s our second, third place in a row, and the aim is to continue fighting for the podium in all the upcoming races. It is a great moment for the team, so I hope we can continue with this momentum at our home race in Misano”.

Jorge Martin #89: 

“I tried for the podium, I made a mistake but I had to try. It was a very positive weekend, I went very strong all the time and the race was incredible. Too bad about the crash but I had to try.”

The one rider we feel sorry for is Enea Bastianini. He secured pole position on Saturday, was smiling and ready to conquer the Austrian circuit on Sunday. Within a few laps, he was putting his hand up and having to pull off to return to the garage. Turns out, the Gresini Racing MotoGP rider ended up with a dent and broken rim. The issue looked to occur after battling with Martin and hitting the kerb. This DNF is a dent in his armour and the chances of securing the factory gig in 2023. Although, the battle between him and Martin was superb, and this reflects on his ability to be fast and ride without fear. Plus, both contenders had errors, some made by choice and others because of tech failing. The announcement for Ducati could be at Misano though Ducati might let it go on for a few more races to see how each rider performs under pressure. We feel either choice is a good one though Miller has stepped up to the plate and one of these younger riders must be Bagnaia’s teammate and that is not going to be easy! In terms of Frenchman Johann Zarco, he was strong though made mistakes which reduced his chances of being at the front. Lately, Zarco has performed beautifully during the practice and qualifying sessions. However, when it comes to the race, errors are made that truly are costly and we are still waiting to see him win a race. 

Enea Bastianini #23: 

“Too bad, because we had a great pace at the beginning and maybe Martin shouldn’t have overtaken me. When I passed him back at the exit of turn nine I ended up with on the kerb and the rim broke. This is definitely the DNF we didn’t need, especially because we had the pace to win or at least to get on the podium.”

Aleix Espargaro #41:

“Despite the fact that the result might lead to think otherwise, I am very happy with my performance. We knew we’d have difficulties on some tracks but in a long championship like this one, we can’t lose our heads. It is important to always achieve the best possible result and, to be honest, we couldn’t have done any better today. Our package struggles on the stop-and-go sections. Fortunately, this is a track with unique characteristics, so there will be more Sundays where we’ll be able to get back to our true level.”

Johann Zarco #5:

“Highs and lows, a few too many mistakes did not allow me to finish in the top three, but all in all I can be satisfied of this weekend. The sensations are positive, the feeling is great, at Misano we’ll try again.”

KTM are improving and their announcement of a new team in 2023 is exciting. With that said, we do feel for Australian Remy Gardner who looks set to lose out on his KTM seat with so much silly season drama kicking into overdrive. Miguel Oliveira is back in the hunt for the second seat alongside Pol Espargaro whilst also rumoured to be linked to the new RNF Racing Aprilia team for the 2023 season. It is sad to see riders like Gardner and D Binder miss out at this stage considering their speed and dedication to the job. Both riders have been dealt bikes which are challenging to ride, and we feel they have been showing up, performing and are worthy of being on the 2023 grid. We really do hope there is room for these two whilst Joan Mir still is yet to announce his move which is linked to be a factory Repsol Honda ride, although right now, he is sidelined due to a high side accident that has left him with a fractured ankle. We wish Mir a speedy recovery and know his signature has been inked somewhere. It is just a matter of when this news is announced.

Dr. Juan Garcías at Hospital Juaneda Miramar in Palma de Mallorca:

“The patient had an injury to the talocalcaneal ligaments with a small bone avulsion. A stable tibiofibular joint, but with bone contusion on the head of the talus. In this case, the tibiofibular joint was stable and there was no total instability in the navicular bone. Conclusion: talus-calcaneal-navicular ligamentous injuries with instability grade I – II.”

Joan Mir #36: 

“After undergoing several tests, the doctors have advised me to take 15 days’ rest and another evaluation after that period. Unfortunately, I will miss the Misano race, but I am confident I can return in Aragon. I want to thank Dainese and AGV for protecting me and avoiding a more serious injury after the hard crash I had on Sunday. It’s been a tough season, but I’m convinced that we’ll come back stronger to bring more good moments to my team and to all of you who support me”.

The major announcement for 2023 is the launch of sprint races for the MotoGP class. The FIM, IRTA, MSMA and Dorna Sports have done a wonderful job in creating more excitement for the sport and their idea of “Sprint Racing” of course inspired by other sports like Formula One has been received with mixed emotions, though mainly positive from those who are purists wanting to see racing at its best. The fan survey that was completed for MotoGP has revealed areas where the sport needs to improve and collectively the governing bodies felt like sprint races had to be integrated because in the end of the day, it allows for more coverage, fan interaction, rider growth and challenges. For those who are curious, the sprint races will take place at 15:00 on the Saturday of each Grand Prix weekend and be approximately half of the full race distance. There will be a 15-minute grid procedure, and the sporting rules from the regular Grand Prix races will apply.

Points will be awarded as follows for the top 9 finishes:

– 1st Position: 12
– 2nd Position: 9
– 3rd Position: 7
– 4th Position: 6
– 5th Position: 5
– 6th Position: 4
– 7th position: 3
– 8th position: 2
– 9th position: 1

However, the sprint races will not determine the grid. The grids for the sprint race and Grand Prix will be set up via qualifying which will take place on Saturday. The riders are free to push in the sprint without worrying about the major event. Therefore, what does a 2023 race weekend look like?

Friday: FP1 and FP2 (both sessions longer in duration).

Saturday: FP3 (30 minutes).

Saturday: Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2.

Saturday: Sprint Race.

Sunday: Race.

What are your thoughts on the new integration of sprint races?

As the title race gets closer, we are anticipating a battle royale between the top three though there is every chance the riders in fourth, fifth and sixth can challenge if something happens or an error is made by the leading pack. MotoGP is a team sport, and we know all engineers, team personnel, managers, technicians, and more are working around the clock.