What an opening Grand Prix of the year!!
The Repsol Hondas looked like they were ahead of the game through practice and qualifying, but after a first lap full of bumping and barging, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa couldn't recover to challenge the new GP15 Ducatis and the previously off the pace, (throughout practice and qualifying), factory Yamahas. MotoGP has done itself a whole lot of good over the last few years in steering the premier class slowly towards a sustainable and competitive spectacle, and the start of 2015 could not have gone better. I can't wait for round two in Austin Texas!
British MotoGP promoters, Circuit of Wales, recently held a press conference at the Piccadilly Sports Bar in Rupert Street, London, underlining their aspirations for young riders in Britain in the future. They also reiterated their position regarding the public enquiry to be held this month, (March), and were confident work would start on the track in South Wales later this year. Hosted by KH, on stage were Chris Herring of CoW and guests of honour, Sam Lowes, 24, current SpeedUp Moto2 rider, Rory Skinner, 13, Red Bull Rookie contender and Riders for Health's CEO, Andrea Coleman.
After 3 scorching days of the second Sepang MotoGP test in February, it's mostly good news! The new GP15 Ducati performed really well at it's first public outing and was right on the pace. As was Cal Crutchlow on his new LCR Honda. Bradley Smith worked through his programme at Tech3 Yamaha again and was never far off the pace setters, and Scott Redding's all new Marc VDS / Estrella Gallicia MotoGP team looked to be gelling well, although they've a bit of work to do to hit expectations. Early days yet though. Likewise for Eugene Laverty who was settling in to his 'customer' RC213VRS Honda, or rather settling in to the incredible grip of Bridgestone's front tyres! Plenty for British fans to look forward to in 2015 then. While we're on the subject of tyres, the Michelin test, the day after Sepang2 test, and in readiness for the switch from Bridgestone to French rubber in 2016, was a real challenge with a few top names having high speed 'offs'. Track times were pretty good at this early stage of developement, first reports suggest that there's plenty of grip at the rear but the fronts need work. The inbalance of grip at each end getting the better of some, and causing some very expensive wrecks. Luckily no one was hurt though. More MotoGP testing is due at Losail in Qatar before the opening GP of 2015 on March 29th at the same track, under lights!
On a personal note, it's great to get into our second season at BT Sport. There are a few changes you might like; the main one, (in my opinion), is that all the MotoGP presenters in 2015 will join us at trackside. There will be some other programme innovations that BT will be launching soon too.
So, after a bit of kerfuffle, it's back to Silverstone for the British MotoGP! With the Circuit of Wales project delayed by red tape, and the contract dead between CoW (promoters for at least 5 years) and Donington Park, it gave the new management team at Silverstone a golden opportunity to regain the initiative. And they have. For two years! Perhaps now we can all look forward to a bit of stability and a cracking British GP, and a state of the art new track in South Wales for 2017?!
This could be a classic year of bike racing. If you see me at any of the tracks, please don't be shy!
See you soon