I thought the Italian GP was the best race I'd seen in years, now I'm not even sure it's the best I've seen in two weeks.
Marc Marquez shrugged off being beaten to pole for the first time this year to take another narrow win. Yet again he was pressured all the way, so much so that the winning margin of half-a-second seemed more like ten seconds - probably because the real challenger had been Dani Pedrosa, who ended up third after nearly ramming Marc on the last lap. Only once this year has Marc won a race by more than two seconds; that was Texas, which also happened to be his first lights-out to chequered-flag victory. Three wins have been by half-a-second or less, two of them over Rossi, one of them over Lorenzo. His two biggest wins, 1.8 and 4.1sec, have been over his team mate (although as already mentioned, it was Dani who came nearest to beating him last weekend).
It's fair to say that, apart from COTA, the first half of the season's tracks generally favour the Yamaha over the Honda, which makes the next race even more interesting. Twelve months ago in an unusually prescient piece, I said that if Rossi was going to win a race that season then it had to be at Assen. I feel much the same this year.
Valentino's mood this year has been interesting. For the first three races he, like the rest of us, wasn't sure what his true potential was. There followed a brace of second places both with a gap of just under one-and-a-half seconds to Marquez. Now Valentino was back to his old self, he looked and sounded like the last three years hadn't happened. Two more races have gone and he's now starting to have a little difficulty hiding his irritation at the fact that he's not been within touching distance of the win since the first race of the year.
I wonder how long he'll go on being nice to Marc?