by Amy Dargan, MotoGP Paddock Reporter
It’s easily becoming the most over-used phrase of the season but in reality there’s no other universal way to describe what is going on in MotoGP in 2017 better.
Last year’s quip, “never say never”, was perfect when the winners tally started to tot up but it didn’t really reflect the championship situation where Marquez, by post-Germany 2016, had a finger on and by Aragon, a full-on grasp.
More than a year has passed since Valentino Rossi has graced the highest step of the podium and even the other two steps have evaded him for the past four races. As it happened, this week I spoke to Rossi baby fresh off the podium and as he started to say how incredibly happy he was and that these moments were what he races for, in my head I was thinking crikey I don’t think there’s very much hiding it. He even looked like a bit of a weight had been lifted.
“I was fast from the beginning after the start, and after some laps I decided to go in front (of Marquez) because I think I had more pace, when I go in front I started to push on, my rhythm that was good, I was very worried especially for Marquez but I see that my advantage became bigger. I say ‘wow, maybe I can do this exactly in that moment it starts to rain’. It became more difficult because you never know and you also have to be lucky a little bit more water is enough to make a mistake. After I fight with Danilo until the end, in the last laps the rain decreased so I try to push and I was able to arrive in front”
With Vinales second DNF of the year, as Valentino later eluded it’s almost like being back to zero.
Eleven points split the top four in the Championship, Pedrosa who had a shocker this weekend struggling to keep heat in the tyres is only seventeen further back of Marquez in fourth but for all the neutrals, and Ducati’s massive fanbase,…welcome Andrea Dovizioso as our new championship leader! That’s exactly how I greeted him when I went to get his debrief and it felt just as good to say it. He chuckled and remarked “how strange it sounds”. He missed out on the silverware this time around but I think Dovi will sleep well tonight on the little nugget that he becomes the first Ducati rider to lead the MotoGP standings since Casey Stoner Mugello in 2009.
(l-r) podium finishers Petrucci (2nd), Rossi (1st) and Marquez (3rd)
If you’ve been dipping in and out of the championship this year, this is the time to commit, how can we be any more sure this is going to one for the history books and lucky for you, it’s only a matter of days before we roll into Germany.
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.