MotoGP: David Emmett – What’s changed for Jerez Part 2?
Throughout the 2020 season David Emmett, editor of Motomatters.com, will be providing Racing Lowdown with some exclusive analysis of what he sees in MotoGP.
This will take the form of the topics that David is most interested in before and after every Grand Prix.
Four days after surgery on a broken arm Marquez will be back
It’s amazing how quickly the racing world changes. Last week I was interested in seeing how a fully fit Marc Marquez would perform. This week? It’s all about what he can do with a broken arm. It’s no less compelling though.
Marc has been declared fit to ride after breaking his arm last weekend at Jerez. It’s going to make this weekend very interesting. The biggest point to note is that being passed fit to race isn’t the same thing as actually racing. He’ll be assessed after each day to ensure that he is fit. Having the extra day of rest, by opting not to ride on Friday, shows that this situation is quite marginal for Marc to race. I think that the chances of him racing are 50:50.
If he races, where does he finish? It’s not like Jorge Lorenzo in 2013 because the field wasn’t as deep then and grid was much more stretched out. There were fewer competitive bikes on the grid back then. I think that finishing inside the Top 5 would be a minor miracle for Marquez and even getting through to Q2 will be really difficult. Everyone has so much data after last weekend and now the field is so tight. Marquez isn’t racing for the win or the podium he’s just trying to score as many points as possible because in 2020 every point counts.
Ducati poised to close the gap to Yamaha
Ducati had a really good race last weekend with Dovi third, Jack Miller fourth and Pecco Baggnia seventh. Jerez has always been their bogey track but Rd 1 went well and now they’ve a lot of data from last weekend. How many of their problems will they be able to solve for this weekend? Can Dovi get back on the podium or will Miller get a podium? I think that Ducati can make a bigger step forward then the Yamaha’s can so that should make them very interesting to watch this weekend.
Can Valentino Rossi turn it around?
I’m very interested in seeing what pace Valentino Rossi has in the afternoon session on Friday. That’s the session that’s going to be very hot and similar to the race conditions. Where he finishes in the session doesn’t really interest me but his pace on his longer runs in FP2 and FP4 are what we need to analyse. He needs to manage the bike for those longer runs and that’s where we’ll see if he’s made progress from last weekend. At the moment he’s looking to be in bad shape in terms of managing the rear tyre and making it work. He doesn’t have the grip and can’t ride naturally with it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens there. The good news for Rossi and Yamaha is that they’ve got a race weekend’s worth of data and that means that they can analyse that and rule out the options that they changed last week and try and move in a specific direction to find an improvement. I think that this weekend could be very important in deciding Rossi’s future so it’’s important to make progress.
Binder looks poised and ready but needs to be patient
Brad Binder had a stunning race last weekend. He made a mistake in the race and ran wide but once he got back on track his pace was good enough to finish second. That was a stunning performance from a rookie. What happens this weekend? He’s obviously going to be confident and he’s going to be looking to make some improvements. The important thing is to be patient and not try and force things on the bike. If he can do that…where can he finish? I think that he could surprise us this weekend and I’m really excited about that.
Some big names will miss out on Q2
It’s going to be insane this weekend in FP1 and FP3. Last week was close but this weekend is going to be incredible. This is really important because it’s only the top ten that get through to Q2 so it’s crucial to set a fast time in these sessions. What’s going to happen? Talking to the riders they feel that the field will be even tighter. It’s not going to mean that someone that was in 15th last weekend will get onto the front row but it might mean that rider can get into the Top 10 and a front runner has to come through Q2 as a result. The time needed to get in Q2 is going to be very fast and could be only two or tenths off the fastest time. That would be amazing. The difference between getting into Q2 could be thousands of a second and that means that every tiny, little detail is going to count. It should also mean that the race is a little tighter at the start. We could see a different grid and some big names not able to make it into Q2.