As the curtains close on one season less than 48 hours later the garage doors are opening for the next. For the majority of the paddock and the freshly crowned world champion that remain for the Tuesday test, there is no time at all to properly process and reflect on the 2017 season. Having arrived back to the UK last night even I’m sitting here writing this column from the comfort of my own home, still a little bleary eyed and not really knowing where to begin on wrapping up this phenomenal year.
The nature of the beast is that by working in this industry and therefore away from your home environment for a minimum of half of the year you naturally get completely engrossed and wrapped up in the highs and the lows. This year was no exception and Valencia was a celebration of that. The title decider narrative was pretty reflective of the season; Marc Marquez pulling off the type of stunning moves that only he could to stay on his bike, Dovizioso despite a mammoth task ahead of him kept the dream alive, the seconds that felt like minutes whilst we waited to see where Marc’s mistake would bring him back out on track and whether there would be any consequence of a trip into the gravel momentarily slapped you around the face in disbelief that another shocker was on its way and despite Dani Pedrosa further cementing himself as the most successful rider at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Johann Zarco rounded out his rookie year with even more noise. Only Marquez has lead more laps in a race this year than Zarco.
We also bid farewell to and celebrated some of the best storytellers of the sport, I personally have worked and travelled alongside Nick Harris for the last three years and will be one of millions to miss ‘The Voice of MotoGP’ admittedly for more his contributions behind the scenes than anything else, that voice does not get any quieter or less enthusiastic can I add - even at 7am! The only thing I won’t miss is being reminded of “the time I beat you on a run to the top of the Mugello paddock stairs”.
The man responsible for the vast majority of the priceless nuggets of information and one liners that get used internationally for the worldwide coverage both written and on screen; Dr Martin Raines was another contributor to wish the sport well. You can tell it was a bit of an emotional weekend in Valencia! But in a really special way that makes me even prouder to be even a small part of it.
2017 saw some of the most spectacular races of the modern-day era (my personal favourite is still Austria; with Dovizioso and Marquez going into the final lap, the final corner and final seconds bar to bar). Some of those races took hours to come down from the heightened excitement that buzzed around in your brain whilst you rush around to get reactions but at the complete opposite end of the spectrum there were also some really dark times this year when the sport untimely lost two legends; Nicky Hayden and Angel Nieto and other notable members of the paddock community. I still can’t find the right words or better words than have already been used by wizards of motorcycle literature to explain how much of a hole these men have left in our hearts.
However, the end of season note should be left on a high, Marc Marquez, congratulations to you, you blow my mind trying to comprehend how we’re not so far apart in age and that is the best way that I can try to relate to how much you have already achieved and how much time you have in front of you to become even more of a phenomenon. Thank you for always keeping us on the edges of our seats throughout the weekend and for then having the same enthusiasm to retell the story to all of us around the world with the same passion.
Andrea Dovizioso, you sir have brought more than a few tears to my eyes over the course of the season, you are a true gentleman and a human example of how much of a difference it can make if you believe in yourself. Thank you for once again giving us another reason to love this sport and for being one of my favourite title contenders to date.
How is it possible to top this in 2018, surely not!
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.