Last weekend saw a frantic weekend for Motorsport fans while the next few weeks are a much more barren affair. But viewers on last Saturday and Sunday were treated to (deep breath) F1 in Bahrain, Moto GP in Argentina, World Superbikes/Superstock/Supersport in Holland, Indy Car at Long Beach, World Touring Cars in Egypt, Britsh Touring Cars at Donnington,British Superbikes at Brands Hatch, Moto America at Road Atlanta, 24 Hours of LeMans (bikes), Super Formula (Japan), Nascar and the United SportsCar Championship. EXHALE AND BREATHE.
While I used to be a follower of Indy Car I don’t really keep tabs too much on the series anymore but that’s an awful lot of Motorsport in one weekend. The main problem (with the exception of the Americas who carry on regardless) is that Moto GP has an agreement to avoid clashing with F1 but Bernie was up to his old tricks again so the F1 Calendar was ratified far too late. Moto GP had to press ahead with its plans but why on earth that means that its clashing with World Super Bikes i’ll never know as they are run by the same commercial rights holder (DORNA).
But all this quantity didn’t affect the quality, while the Bahrain race fell short of last years duel in the desert (which will be remembered as an all time classic) it provided yet another fantastic race and the best outing of 2015. Racing was never fantastic in the heat of the day time but the lights seem to provide a little magic – it’s not full nighttime either and it’s not a day/night race. Furthermore it works for the locals where Sunday is a work day with the weekend being Friday/Saturday so a Monday night lights event certainly suits. But the biggest improvement seems to be the racing which has come alive on the circuit.
The Moto GP race in Argentina didn’t disappoint either with a marginal tyre choice meant split strategy up and down the field but it was the old master Valentino Rossi who showed that he could really win a tenth (yes 10th!) World Championship this year at the age of 36. The leading group of Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi, Iannone, Dovi and Cal Crutchlow quickly dispatched the under powered Suzuki of Aleix Espagaro who had hauled the bike into P2 on Saturday but simply didn’t have the pace to scrap with anyone. However it was Marky Mark Marquez who opened up a gap to the pack but his softer rear tyre left him vulnerable as Rossi started to close the gap with 10 laps to go then all of a sudden the time was being taken away in seconds a sector rather than tenths. The battle between the two was fierce but Rossi pulled ahead into the esses section and that should have been that a bit of argy bargey and a good show but ultimatley Rossi had made the right tyre choice and Marquez should have settled for second place. However he didn’t he kept his wheel stuck in and misjudged when Rossi was going to flip his bike for the next turn and it was a rear wheel versus front wheel where the front always loses. It took the Repsol Honda rider out of the race while Cal Crutchlow in a last corner do or die move took the last podium place alongside the Ducati of Dovi who also had the softer tyre and couldn’t quite live with Rossi’s pace.
But finally in back to Bahrain where those of you watching were probably wondering whether the Director had a heavy night on Saturday as come Sunday the coverage veered from poor to dubious. The long shots of the great and the good in Bahrain instead of on field battles was just blatant and unfair – fans are now paying good money to watch the races since FOM moved the sport behind paywalls therefore they simply deserve a better product than what they got. The director missed action up and down the field, cut away to people not connected to the racing in the middle of battles, refused to show Manor and also replayed the start about 10 times in a row – a start in which not a whole lot happened!
The time has come for a serious think about how the sport is run.