Three crashes in three races, who'd have thought it? Well, who'd have thought it given the subject of the conversation is Marc Marquez. After the two gentle slides to earth in Catalunya and Assen, this morning's high side going in to turn two was a proper egg-beater. If you saw John Hopkins' identical crash around ten years ago, the one that caused the race to be red-flagged, you'll understand. The young gun was seen to rotate his arms and hold his chest in the manner of anyone normal person checking for damage after a big hit. It didn't stop him going fast this afternoon though, although not as fast as Aleix Espargaro who stuck in the soft tyre at the end of both of today's sessions to go fastest and point out that his pole at Assen wasn't a freak occurrence. The question is, can he make it go race distance? He intended to try at Assen, hopefully he'll be able to find out on Sunday.
Meanwhile much feverish speculation surrounds the satellite and private teams and their choice of riders for next year. This may seem a trifle premature, but this is the time of year when deals are always done, enabling the factories to plan their production and next year's operations. Since Pedrosa re-signed for another two years with Honda last week, one area of speculation was removed from play leaving Andrea Dovizioso as the key man. Once he decides if he's staying with Ducati rather than going to Suzuki, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
Given HRC have decided to retain Dani, it was always going to be for two years. With the major technical changes and new tyres arriving in 2016, the factories are not going to want to change bikes and riders at the same time; too many variables. Keeping the same pilots reduces the confusion. However, that only applies to the works teams so we can still expect an interesting reshuffle in the satellite teams--especially the ones using Hondas, and that includes Aspar who is less than amused at the performance of the customer bikes he bought this year.