Ryder Notes: Reflections before Racing
by julian ryder
Saturday, April 20, 2013

There are some people whose records you thought you'd never see beaten. A couple of them have already been shattered at Austin.

First, Freddie Spencer's mark as the youngest man to be set pole position in the top class of Grand Prix racing has been usurped by Marc Marquez—in his second MotoGP race. Texas's supply of superlatives has already been exhausted in describing what the 20-year old has done so far this weekend, if he wins and takes Spencer's record of being the youngest ever winner then he'll have to send out for a load more.

Up until this season the only guy I'd seen with the same sort of instant, blazing speed as Fast Freddie was Casey Stoner. When Casey decided to go fishing I thought I'd be lucky to see another rider I could compare to Freddie: didn't have to wait long though, did I?

Secondly, in Moto2, Scott Redding despite being many kilos heavier than his opposition even with the combined minimum weight limit for bike and rider of 215kg took his first pole position. That makes him the youngest British rider to set pole in the intermediate class, taking the record from—Mike Hailwood. Not often you can say that. I still can't make my mind up about the circuit. Riders like it, but how will it race? How will a pack of bikes get through that slalom from Turn two through to Turn eight? Is it a one-line track? There are three places that look good for overtaking, the first and last corners and the end of the back straight. Will there be others?

Whatever, I cannot remember a race where the rostrum places in the top class were seemingly so certain before the lights go out. However, bike racing is rarely that formulaic so the pessimistic noises being made by Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi should be treated with caution. And if Stefan Bradl can make up for a disappointing qualifying he may have a say in the podium placings. And he's at the point where he needs a rostrum to justify Honda's faith in him. And when was the last German on the rostrum in MotoGP? Michael Rudroff at the boycotted Misano race of 1989 since you ask. Before that, you're back on the Nurburgring in the 1970s.


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