THE APPLICANTS: The pressure is on…
In the absence of a distribution of 150, 17 points currently separate the first three classified in the provisional MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo, Pecco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro. Three drivers of three nationalities driving three different brands. These days they were asked about the level of pressure to which they were subjected, and logically the three threw balls. But with the bleeding of points unstoppable in the last five GPs – 81 against Bagnaia and 17 against Espargaró- and for riding the slowest bike in the category, the one who should be under the most pressure should be Quartararo, but it’s definitely a mechanical disadvantage he gave Fabio the argument that “you can’t do more than I did”. The ball is therefore in the court of Espargaró and Bagnaia, especially the latter, riding a wave of overwhelming results: four first places and a second. In addition, with his bike officially recognized as the best in the category – Ducati won the constructors’ title at the last Aragon GP – not winning the title this season would mean more disappointment for the Italian than his rivals. So far, Bagnaia followed up today’s finish in Japan by finishing second in the only practice session held, ahead of Quartararo and Aleix Espaegaró. The difference between the three is 4 thousandths!… The end of the 2023 World Cup looks huge.
SLEEPING GIANT: Honda, wait a minute.
Every time I go to Motegi, I can’t stop visiting the Honda Museum. I can’t count how many times I’ve visited its three floors, both times I’ve been in awe of its sporting achievements and the level of technology they’ve displayed over the years. And it’s not a set phrase, it’s huge. A level that Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaró were able to verify firsthand during the visit they both made to the new HRC before traveling to Motegi. New because after the integration of F1 -previously it managed only motorcycles- the Honda Racing Corporation took on a new dimension. After going through HRC-MotoGP, Marc and Pol were taken to the hyper-modern HRC-F1 facilities, and were both amazed. The resources and technology used by the HRC-F1 for four wheels are almost endless and leave those in MotoGP stunted. In other words, whenever it wants, Honda will stop traveling in the MotoGP caboose like it does now. No other brand is at its level technologically, nothing. It only takes one person in Japan to wake up one day and say: “it’s time to help the “motorcycle guys”; on that day the phrase “Honda is Honda” will have meaning again.
LIKE NEVER: Literally, a blink.
Today at Motegi, the top fifteen drivers on the grid finished separated by 0.5 seconds. At this minimum margin are the six brands in the category and drivers who drive in completely different ways; is incredible. And it is not that the level of MotoGP has decreased, quite the opposite. The 2019 FP1 pole, the last time it was raced in Japan, was 1.45.572; Jack Miller’s today is 1.44.509. Thus, Nakagami set the 15th record with 1.46.763; now the Japanese rider, injured in one hand, was in 12th place and stopped the stopwatch on his best lap at 1.44.886. To visualize the margin that separates the MotoGP riders today, let’s divide that 0.5 seconds that separates the top fifteen in the 14 corners of the circuit to see how fast the 15th today in each corner – Jorge Martín- to make the pole. Well, half a second divided by fourteen gives 0.035 s., the time it takes to blink! And if we use the blink as a unit of measurement, it’s not good enough to measure the difference at the end of the day between Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia, first and second…Unbelievable.
Source: La Verdad