by Amy Dargan, MotoGP Paddock Reporter
It was a more than somber start to the week in Le Mans, the news of Nicky’s accident surfaced just as we were arriving Wednesday to the grey and moody skies of the French city.
It just sucked, it still sucks, the stall in information now is perhaps even more upsetting, it sounds so cliché but literally all we can do now as fans, friends and family is stay positive.
The grand prix continued but the after shock stuck around, as did the naff weather.
Jack Miller was the one to make hay when the sun wasn’t shining, he’s always shown his Aussie in mixed conditions, injury-free this year has meant he’s been following up with solid showings all round. Jack had secured his spot in Q2, FP4 got underway in the driest conditions so far of the weekend and that’s where he brought all of our jaws bottoming out in the most horrifying crash I can honestly say I’ve seen since arriving in the paddock. It was terrifying. What was even more unbelievable was that he got himself together again to go out in Q2 where he had another. I saw him later that evening and had to hold myself back from inappropriately flinging my arms around his neck, just so relieved to see him relatively ok, he had a knee strapped up and his hand but in his own words, he was “insanely lucky”. He really was. He went out there on Sunday and did himself proud coming home in 8th.If we thought the race in Jerez was a pivotal moment in the championship then Sunday’s threw us a massive curve ball and sent us all off running in different directions. Would you lay money at this point on the 2017 crown? I certainly wouldn’t, I’ve gone from Vinales to Marquez to Rossi until the last lap on Sunday to deciding that I’m going to sit back and enjoy the show.
It’s the numbers of the championship standings that are sending my brain into a spin…the top six are separated by 31 points (remember a win is 25) they all have at least one DNF (Marquez has two), Vinales sits at the top 17 clear of Dani Pedrosa. That in itself is enough to get excited about, all of the critics that asked why HRC keep Dani Pedrosa in his Repsol Honda seat are suddenly all having to take a slice of humble pie.
Valentino suffered a heavy blow on Sunday, it wasn’t just about loosing out on what would have been a stunning victory, it wasn’t just about no longer heading into Mugello still leading the world championship, there was a lot more to that win than met the eye but he still is only 6 points back on Pedrosa.
Marquez has a bit more work to do, that second DNF could prove costly as the championship progresses, he now sits on 58 points- to add salt to the wound, it won’t feel good that MotoGP new boy and headline stealer Johann Zarco is creeping up 3 points behind him, now fifth in the standings.
Wasn’t he amazing! I won’t lie he made me feel like a bit of a plonker in the TV set as I was clearly no where near “as chill” as he was about him taking his first MotoGP podium in front of all those elated French fans. The final man in the top six is Andrea Dovizoso, coming in with 54 points, he finished 4th on Sunday. Ducati too have definitely got there work cut out, they just don’t feel as competitive this year but the tightness of the championship has got to act as a bit of a dangling carrot.
Never say never, impossible is nothing and all that is left to say is #GoNicky
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.