Nine in a row. The gods keep conspiring to try and find ways of stopping him, but Marc Marquez keeps finding ways of winning.
This time they sent him a heavy shower just before the bikes went out. The front two rows and more put wets on and assembled with some trepidation on the grid. The back of the grid saw a chance and all stuck slicks on - the Lawson Gamble. Stefan Bradl, in third, swapped to slicks on the grid thus lumbering himself with a wet weather bike with dry weather tyres. It looked like he'd pulled a master stroke when everyone who'd fitted wets dived up pit lane at the end of the warm up lap to change bikes, thus giving themselves the self-imposed penalty of a start from out lane after the rest of the field had cleared off.
So we saw what looked like an old-fashioned motocross start from the end of pit lane with more riders in a row than I've seen the British Championship circa 1984. Typically, Marquez got himself there first. Andrea Iannone used the same tactics necessary for parking in Milan, he made some room on the front row no-one else knew was there. As Bradl helped himself to a large lead, and we enjoyed the sight of Petrucci and Laverty in second and third, the front half of the grid was released from it lane. Pol Espargaro got boxed in behind Dovizioso who'd forgotten to switch his pit lane speed limiter off, Lorenzo grabbed his brakes, got no response and cut across the pit exit. He realised he'd been a naughty boy and stuck his hand up on the first lap to let a couple of bikes past. Penalty paid.
The track dried rapidly and Bradl found himself on a dry weather bike with soft, wet weather forks settings. Having led by over seven seconds he ended up out of the points. The factory bikes fought their way to the front, with Andrea Iannone again impressing by being best of the rest and by far the top Ducati.
Once the pattern of the race was set, the real question was could Dani Pedrosa beat his team mate on the track where he's had success in every class. He pushed, he got close and then Marquez pushed and opened up the gap to more than a second. Lorenzo exorcised a few of the ghosts that had troubled him at Assen in similar conditions and will now contemplate his options for 2015. Once he makes a decision then we can expect the rest of the pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place quickly.
If all you've done is take a look at the result today, you could be forgiven for thinking it was business as usual. Sure we again marveled at the genius of Marc Marquez, but very little else was standard issue.
Indy next ...