Austin: The Good, the Bad & Ugly

thanks, Paolo Scalera

And now what for Ducati?


The Texas flag is also called the Lone Star and every year we wonder if they were perhaps thinking of Marquez when they designed it. In Austin, Marc branded the asphalt with his fifth consecutive victory. If we were at a carnival shooting gallery, we could give him next year’s win as his prize.

The little devil, however, was not the only one smiling, with Valentino moving into the championship lead and once more in harmony with his Yamaha. Switch categories and bikes, but the result remains the same with Morbidelli, who dared to take the score to 3-0 in his personal game of Franco against the Rest of the World. Another class change takes us to a victorious and finally joyful Fenati.

However, not everyone got a taste of the American dream. In fact, for some it was a nightmare, like for Ducati, Viñales, Aprilia or Canet. And so, it is best to think of Europe and Jerez. After all, the chance for a rematch is only a few days away.

THE GOODRossi, Morbidelli, Fenati, Di Giannantonio. Between confirmations and welcome returns, the Italian patrol did well in Texas. Leading the troops was the Doctor who may not have won a race yet but in any case, the Championship lead now belongs to him. As always, he reserved the most spectacular moves for Sunday, although some progress had already been seen in qualifying. The student, however, outdid the master, with Morbidelli taking a perfect hat trick.  After a year, Fenati is back to flying high and the Diggia has also overcome his injuries. This time we can be pleased.

THE BAD The wingless Ducati fell to the earth. With Austin being so close to NASA headquarters, perhaps they can go to them for some advice. More than a spaceship, right now the Desmosedici seems more like an unidentified object. After years of progress, the bike from Bologna is behaving like the crustacean of the same colour: it is going backwards. The riders have sent out an SOS to the technicians, requesting a search and rescue.

THE UGLY – In the end he got a lecture from Rossi and a rap on the knuckles from Pedrosa, but the two were too happy about the podium and left it at that. Besides the Garibaldi-style attack, Johann Zarco is truly aggressive, one of those riders who bust the heroes’ balls and win over the fans. As a rookie on a (very good) old bike, he is cutting quite a few big names down to size.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT – In not having seen the duel between Viñales and Marquez which, like a spring thunderstorm, was in the air for a while but then never arrived. There will be time to make up for it and the same is true for the points that Maverick left behind in the Texan dust. Nobody’s perfect.

THE CONFIRMATION – When he arrives in Texas, Marquez is more lethal with his Honda than John Wayne and Clint Eastwood with their Colts put together. The Spaniard takes no prisoners, wins by a wide margin and makes one wonder if he doesn’t still have a few rounds left in his belt. Marc’s rebirth blazed through the U.S.A. and it will be painful for everyone.

THE MISTAKE – How to crushingly dominate a race weekend and then take a dive just as things are looking good. The course will be taught by Aaron Canet, a fresh squanderology graduate. The curriculum is not particularly interesting, especially when you are the main subject.

THE SURPRISE – After practice, in Austin it was easy to forget about Petrucci, who seemed to be lost in the prairie. He found his way home just in time for Sunday and the road led him to the same level as the other GP17 machines. Nothing too profound, but these days you need to be happy even for small satisfactions.

THE PASS – There isn’t a huge selection, let’s be honest, but how great was it to see Pedrosa with a tough response for Marquez. Dani is a rider who knows how to fall and get back up countless times and he pulls no punches with anyone, not even with his teammate.

THE INTERESTING FACT – No one had ever won 3 races in a row in Moto2, much less all 3 opening races. The last to do it in the intermediate class was Kato in 2001, who continued the streak for the fourth as well. All this to say that Morbidelli set a record.

I TOLD YOU SO – Dovizioso optimistic after the qualifiers: “we don’t have the speed for the podium, but in the race things change and I won’t rule out the possibility.” Sunday evening he had changed his mind.

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