After the abandonment of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone two weeks ago, the series heads to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for what should have been round 13 of the series, but is effectively round 12.
It will be the 22nd time the circuit (which is actually in Italy, but not far from the principality) has hosted a Grand Prix event. The first took place on 1980 with a further nine events until 1993, when the then defending champion Wayne Rainey had his career-ending crash.
The series returned to a much modified layout – running in the opposite direction – in 2007. Yamaha has had the most wins at the circuit since it returned to the calendar, with six to Honda’s four, while Italian institution Ducati has only a single victory at the circuit.
Talking of institutions, San Marino may be Valentino Rossi’s ‘home’ circuit, but the most successful rider since it returned to calendar is Marc Marquez, with a total of five victories across all three classes.
What was until six (or is that seven?) rounds ago was developing into a predictable MotoGP season with Honda’s defending champion Marquez not so much dominating, more a case that no one seemed able to take up the challenge. The factory Yamahas of Rossi and Maverick Vinales have not been able to get close to Marquez, suffering electronics woes.
The marque continues on its longest ever winless streak in the series, now standing at 21 races. For Yamaha’s last victory at Misano, we have to go back even further to 2014 – with Rossi.
After running Marquez close last year, and following that up with a victory in the season opener, it looked as though Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati would be able to mount a serious challenge once again. A run of three retirements in four races put paid to that.
Jorge Lorenzo began 2018 in the same vein as much of 2017 had gone and was once again off the pace. Disillusioned, the former MotoGP champion announced he was leaving Ducati and would be replacing Dani Pedrosa in the Repsol Honda garage alongside Marquez.
At that point the season ignited into what we always knew the premier class of two-wheeled racing was. Ducati finally gave Lorenzo the modifications he craved, and lo and behold he romped to victory in France and Spain. At Brno he came second behind team-mate Dovizioso and then went one better in Austria, claiming his third win in six races – and, in the process, demonstrating that on his day he is a match for Marquez.
Lorenzo has stated that he isn’t moving to Honda to make up the numbers, and his recent form suggests he should go well. Ducati have now won four of the last six races, seven in total for the season from the 11 to date.
Marquez has a 59-point cushion to second-placed Rossi, but worryingly for Rossi his advantage over the resurgent Lorenzo is now just 12 points. Lorenzo has 130 points, with 114 of them claimed in the last six races. Rossi, in comparison, has taken 86 points in the same period.
2018 MotoGP championship standings
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 201 points
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 142
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 130
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 129
5. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 113
6. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 105
The balance of power shifted once more in Austria, with Francesco Bagnaia taking the chequered flag from his nearest rival Miguel Oliveira. Bagnaia leads Oliveira by a slender three-point margin ahead of this weekend’s race.
Oliveira has a 73-point advantage over Alex Marquez in third. The young Spaniard has failed to finish the previous two races, and with a 13th place finish in Germany before that he has taken only three points from three races. This has allowed the 2016 Moto3 champion Brad Binder to close the gap to just two points.
The eight Moto2 races to date at Misano have yielded seven winners, Tony Elias being the only rider to claim more than one victory. Elias’s record could be equalled this year by the victor from 2017, Lorenzo Baldassarri.
2018 Moto2 championship standings
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 189 points
2. Miguel Oliveira (KTM) 186
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 113
4. Brad Binder (KTM) 111
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 106
6. Joan Mir (Kalex) 103
The current leader is Marco Bezzecchi on a KTM after the Italian claimed his second win of 2018 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. He currently has a 12-point advantage over Jorge Martin on a Honda.
Honda and KTM are the only manufacturers competing in the class this year and currently honours are pretty even. KTM may be leading but the two manufacturers each have five riders in the top 10 places.
2018 Moto3 championship standings
1. Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) 158 points
2. Jorge Martin (Honda) 146
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 121
4. Aron Canet (Honda) 118
5. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 117
6. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 84
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