Mav – Top Gun
Surely there isn’t a soul who would begrudge Maverick VIÑALES’ brilliant pole position for San Marino Grand Prix. The fella with arguably the coolest name in MotoGP, produced a scintillating 1.31.411 around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to take pole by 0.3 of second.
As we predicted earlier in the week, the freshly resurface Misano circuit has been a Yamaha fest so far with all 4 Yamaha’s on the grid filling the top 4 positions. Seeing Mav in P1 on the time sheets was super nice considering what he has been through in recent times.
After 2 near death experiences, 2 weeks in a row Maverick probably would have been happy enough if his brakes worked more often than not this weekend. So to see him in top form with great race pace, one lap pace and what seems to be a load of confidence is really, really cool.
Normally we are a little critical of riders who celebrate a pole position too much, especially when they have a record of not delivering the goods on a Sunday. However, in this case Mav’s celebrations were completely warranted and seeing it definitely brought a smile to our faces.
From a mindset perspective we also think letting all the built up emotion out will serve him very well for the 27 lap race. Maverick will be a contender.
MORBIDELLI – Nothing to Lose
While we predicted the Blu Cru boys would be strong, we didn’t expect to see Franco in P2 if we are honest. We expected his teammate to comfortably have his measure, particularly in qualifying but that was not to be.
After that monster coming together with Zarco and all the politics that followed Franco seems to be in a happy head space, plus he has nothing to lose either. He currently sits 11th in the championship and his seat is secured for next year, thus there isn’t a lot of pressure on him at the moment.
He will need to find a bit of extra-long run pace if he is to be a contender for the race win. We have him down as a podium chance rather than a contender for the win.
El’ DIABLO – A must to Pounce
Championship leader Fabio QUARTARARO has been in hot form in every session this weekend and needs to capitalise whenever his Yamaha package is strong. The Misano circuit really suits the sweet handling M1 and this is an opportunity for Fabio to cement his place as championship favourite. Regardless of what unfolds he needs to be in the battle for the win and ideally needs to finish in the top 2.
The Doctor – Primed for Surgery
Valentino has also been in very strong form this weekend. Something to really take note of is the fact Rossi was on the pace as early as FP2. These days it normally takes the Doctor a little longer to find his mojo and we often see him in Q1. Not this weekend, Vale has had good long run pace as well as one lap pace almost from the get go. While it has been a long time since Rossi has fought for race wins, he has done it so often over such a long career he will not have forgotten how.
The issue the Doctor normally faces these days is his pace, not his mental strength. When it comes to performing when it counts on a Sunday, Valentino is a blue-chip performer. He will be a real threat this weekend and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see him fighting for the win.
As predicted, it hasn’t been easy going for Jack this weekend, on top of that he had another fall in FP3. Still he has shown some decent pace even when being a little inconsistent and he delivered the goods when it counted being the first non-Yamaha in P5. We can’t really see Jack having the pace to fight for the win or podium on true merit, but this is a big weekend for him to deliver a strong result.
Jack also needs to keep his head so that he can pick up any crumbs should the boys in blue trip over one another. After all, the new re-surface has resulted in a lot of new bumps. Bumps plus hard braking pass attempts often end in tears.
Top Step for Top Gun
It’s impossible to pick a winner this weekend with any real confidence. We all know that Mav’s Sunday performances have let him down in recent years, which is a real shame. He is so talented yet hasn’t delivered on the promise he showed when he first joined Yamaha.
As we started typing this little form guide our money was on Fabio but we are going to put our hopes on Maverick to take the win. Good luck Top Gun, Mav on the top step? We would like to see that
Who’s your tip?