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GP Week : Issue 195
RACe ONe – QATAR Qualified 6th, finished 3rd In the dark at Qatar, and Marquez pushed past older team-mate Pedrosa to engage with Rossi. This time the old master came out top. RACe TWO – AusTIN, TeXAs Qualified 1st, finished 1st New track, a fast crash in practice, then a crisp pass on Pedrosa to break Freddie Spencer’s “youngest-ever winner” record, dating back to 1984. RACe THRee – JeReZ Qualified 3rd, finished 2nd No mercy – collides with Lorenzo in the last corner to steal second. Escapes sanction, for which Lorenzo castigates race direction. RACe FOuR – Le MANs Qualified 1st, finished 3rd A landmark: first ever time in the wet, nearly crashed on the line, by halfway through he’d learned ... through from eighth to third. RACe FIVe – MuGeLLO Qualified 6th, DNF (crash) Only race crash of the year followed fastest-ever 340-km/h bail-out in practice. He’d just past Pedrosa for second. RACe sIX – CATALuNYA Qualified 6th, finished 3rd Earned criticism for aggression again – almost knocked Pedrosa off in last-lap attack. Still inches behind over the line. RACe seVeN – AsseN Qualified 2nd, finished 2nd Another lucky escape from a fast crash, while Lorenzo’s broke his collarbone. Beaten by Rossi, but not in hand-to-hand combat. RACe eIGHT – GeRMANY Qualified 1st, finished 1st Now the purple patch begins – he’s supreme for a second win, with both Lorenzo and Pedrosa out injured. Resumes World Championship lead, will never lose it. RACe NINe – LAGuNA seCA Qualified 2nd, finished 1st The hardest track to learn, on the hardest bikes to ride. Well, he did fall off again. Got up again, and made it two in a row. RACe 10 – INDIANAPOLIs Qualified 1st, finished 1st Both rivals still below par after the summer holiday, though well on the mend. Three in a row, and he’s pulling ahead. Can it last? RACe 11 – BRNO Qualified 3rd, finished 1st Yes it can last. This time Dani was hunting him down, and swore if he’d started his end-run earlier, he’d have had him. Easy to say ... RACe 12 – sILVeRsTONe Qualified 1st, finished 2nd Rookie over-reaching himself? Pole again, and then a dislocated shoulder on race morning in another fast crash. Popped it back in, and only lost to Lorenzo in the last corner. RACe 13 – MIsANO Qualified 1st, finished 2nd Had a run-off as Lorenzo cleared off with new seamless-shift gearbox, then won a spirited fight with Pedrosa. Still 34 points clear. RACe 14 – ARAGON Qualified 1st, finished 1st Another signal moment: clips Pedrosa’s back end and severs a cable to disable his traction control. He’s down and out of the championship. And Jorge couldn’t keep up. His sixth and final win. RACe 15 – sePANG Qualified 1st, finished 2nd From now on, the championship was the target, but he was happy to exchange paint with Lorenzo, in new aggressive mode. Beat him, couldn’t catch Dani. But the championship was looking like a foregone conclusion. RACe 16 – PHILLIP IsLAND Qualified 2nd, DNF (disqualified) Bridgestone tyre debacle required compulsory pit stop, his team messed it up. Went from an almost unassailable 43 points ahead of Lorenzo to a vulnerable 18, in a race he looked like winning. Could this error cost him the title? RACe 17 – MOTeGI Qualified 2nd, finished 2nd Would the rookie crumble under Lorenzo’s sustained pressure? With race morning the only dry practice, another fast hard crash. Had he thrown it away? But once again he bounced back for a measured race. Mature, as well as lucky. RACe 18 - VALeNCIA Qualified 1st, finished 3rd Lorenzo tried everything to unsettle the new boy with the old head on his shoulders. Marquez was steadfast, but “had to fight with myself a bit” to let first Lorenzo and then Pedrosa past. Third was more than good enough to rewrite history. MOTOGP >>> FEATUrE Footnote: Marquez broke all Freddie Spencer’s records, and matched the achievement of Kenny Roberts – winning the championship in his rookie year. There is only one other claimant to this honour, 1950 champion Umberto Masetti. He had ridden twice in the class the previous year, but won in his first full season. Yet nobody has done what Roberts did in 1978. He wasn’t just a class rookie but a total GP rookie – learning new tracks, new countries, new ways of racing. And defeating Barry Sheene to start an era of his own. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: