by Amy Dargan, MotoGP Paddock Reporter
If you were to tune in and watch a MotoGP race for the first time and it was under Flag to Flag conditions, you would be forgiven for not having a dinky about what was going on. It’s a manic, head spinning occasion that takes place when a white flag is shown, indicating that riders are allowed to change machines.
It’s quite a spectacle to watch as the riders and teams gamble with trying to make the call to the pits to swap bikes at precisely the right time. You may remember Bradley Smith’s roll of the dice in Misano in 2015 to stay out on slicks that rewarded him with a podium. On the other hand you may also remember earlier this year in Assen when Lorenzo and Zarco jumped the gun and tried to pre-empt a flag to flag shake up like we saw today and it completely backfired. In one swift divert into pit lane you can either look like a hero or a zero.
Today Marquez took the hero level to godly status with his perfectly timed bike swap that saw him cross the finish line 12.4 seconds clear of Pedrosa in second.
He had already made a big gamble on the grid to start on a wet soft rear whilst the majority went with the medium, it all left us scratching our heads or pondering a potential genius strategy. He said he quickly realized it was the wrong decision as he started dropping back through the field like a fly, so into to the pits he came where his team were ready with his dry set up bike complete with slicks that launched him like a grenade past the other riders as they too were forced in to change their bikes.
His post-race interviews make the whole thing sound more like a well-timed mistake to go with the soft that luckily forced him to make the bike swap at incredibly the most victorious time. I even heard quite a bold theory knocking around on twitter that he deliberately went out on the soft, so he could drop back behind his championship contenders and make the bike swap under the radar.
Whatever happened out there today, it was ruddy brilliant. Well done Mr Marquez, that was one for the books.
See you in Austria this weekend.
Who is Amy?
Amy is one of MotoGP’s official roving reporters hunting down the riders, their managers, crew chiefs and paddock personalities at every Grand Prix. This season she'll be filling BikeSocial readers in on the story lines in between the racing lines.
Amy is all about two wheels coming from three years covering the MXGP championship before embarking on her third season in MotoGP, she'll also be the pit lane reporter at selected Speedway Grand Prix this year.