2019 British GP (MotoGP) – Preview

What a race in Austria! What a duel between Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez! A duel that went all the way to the final corner, and it was the Italian who got past the great Spaniard at the final corner to grab a memorable victory, his 14th in the premier class, to keep Ducati’s undefeated run at the Red Bull Ring alive!

However, can Dovizioso back up and defeat Márquez for a second race in a row? We will find out as MotoGP heads back to Great Britain, the spiritual home of motorsport and grand prix motorcycle racing, and to Silverstone for the 2019 British Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (230 points) for the Repsol Honda Team had his sizeable championship lead cut to 58 points by Dovizioso (172 points) from Mission Winnow Ducati, but you feel like the Spaniard has got this world championship under complete control, and hasn’t gone two races in a row without a race victory in 2019, so you think he is the man to beat at Silverstone.

As for Dovizioso, he needs to win again if he is to keep his slim championship hopes alive, and given the characteristics of Silverstone, it should be a great chance for Dovizioso to claim just his third win of 2019.

Danilo Petrucci (136 points) is still in third in the world championship for Mission Winnow Ducati despite finishing a disappointing ninth in Austria, and is set to come under pressure from Álex Rins (124 points), who finished sixth for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, as well as the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Valentino Rossi (103 points) and Maverick Viñales (102 points) after stronger fourth and fifth-place results at the Red Bull Ring.

Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo (92 points) has overtaken both Jack Miller (86 points) from Alma Pramac Racing and Cal Crutchlow (78 points) from LCR Honda after finishing a brilliant third in Austria, capitalising on the crashes of both Miller and Crutchlow.

Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (62 points) is just inside the Top 10, and is ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (61 points), and Franco Morbidelli (58 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT in the standings.

So, who is going to win the 2019 British Grand Prix?

Last year, the British Grand Prix was cancelled due to dangerously wet conditions, but the weather is set to be fine all this weekend at Silverstone, with the temperatures hovering around the mid-to-high 20s (degrees Celsius), and if that is the case, you would expect a duel between Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso, although you wouldn’t be surprised if others do challenge the two leading men in the championship for a fair portion of the race, and if others can challenge, it will be a race to remember!

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2019 Austrian GP (MotoGP) – Preview

The MotoGP grid returned from their mid-season break, along with the same story that has dominated this season so far, the dominance of Marc Márquez!

Márquez not only grabbed his 50th premier class victory, his sixth race victory of the season in the Czech Republic, being the only rider so far in 2019 to have more than one win to his name, but before that, Márquez in changeable conditions took a remarkable 58th premier class pole position to equal the record held by Mick Doohan!

So, the question about whether anyone can challenge or stop Márquez will be the main storyline, along with whether Márquez can break Doohan’s pole position record in the premier class as we head into the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, Round 11 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (210 points) leads the championship by 63 points for the Repsol Honda Team over Mission Winnow Ducati Andrea Dovizioso (147 points), and even Dovizioso, along with the rest of the grid, is wondering how are they going to get on terms with the five-time MotoGP World Champion, despite finishing second in Brno.

It is one thing doing it at one venue every few rounds, like what could happen this week at the Red Bull Ring, with Ducati being a strong chance of challenging Márquez, it is another thing doing every round, and right now, no one else on the MotoGP grid can match what the great Spaniard is doing!

Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (129 points) is third in the world championship, losing ground to his teammate in battle for second in the championship after a disappointing eighth-placed finish at the Czech Republic Grand Prix, while Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (114 points) maintained his challenge for third in the standings despite finishing fourth.

Behind the Top Four in the world championship, we have the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Maverick Viñales (91 points) and Valentino Rossi (90 points) after finishing sixth and 10th respectively in Brno.

As a team right now, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP should be embarassed about where they are right now, and with the exception of the single race victory by Viñales in Assen, they haven’t looked genuinely close to winning a race in 2019 on merit, and right now are being challenged by Jack Miller (86 points) from Alma Pramac Racing after finishing a brilliant third in the Czech Republic from second on the grid.

If he continues this kind of form for the rest of 2019, Miller will finish ahead of both factory Yamaha riders in the championship!

Cal Crutchlow (78 points) is eighth in the world championship for LCR Honda after finishing fifth behind Márquez, Dovizioso, Miller, and Rins, and is in a close battle for this position in the standings with Petronas Yamaha SRT rookie Fabio Quartararo (76 points), who finished two places behind the British rider in seventh, while Pol Espargaró (61 points) completes the Top 10 in the championship for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, ahead of Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (57 points), and Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (52 points).

So, who is going to win the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix?

This race should suit Ducati because of the long straights, the hard-braking sections at the end of the long straights, and the general point-and-squirt nature of the Red Bull Ring. However, Marc Márquez was right there with the Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo last year, like he was with the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in 2017, and with Honda taking a big step forward with their bike in 2019 in regards to straight-line performance, Márquez has to be the man to beat at every circuit for the rest of 2019!

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix – Preview

It was a chaotic 2019 German Grand Prix in changeable conditions, Max Verstappen got his second race victory of the season, Sebastian Vettel finished second from 20th on the grid after technical issues in qualifying, Daniil Kvyat grabbed his third career podium in Formula One, and the second-ever podium for Scuderia Toro Rosso!

However, many others had shocking races, with five drivers, including Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas, crashing out of the race, a further two retiring due to mechanical issues, including Daniel Ricciardo, while Lewis Hamilton almost crashed out of the race, not once, but twice, as he managed to somehow finish ninth in what was one of his worst races in his career to extend his championship lead heading into the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton (225 points) leads the championship for Mercedes by 41 points over teammate Bottas (184 points) after what was his worst race result, excluding retirements, in his Formula One career since the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix after both Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi from Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari received 30-second time penalties after the German Grand Prix for infringements regarding the start, which they are going to appeal against, promoting Hamilton from 11th, which would have been his worst race result, excluding retirements, since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished 12th, to ninth.

Hamilton will be looking to bounce back this weekend at the Hungaroring, a place where he has won at six times (the most race wins at the Hungaroring), and will aiming to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of most pole positions in Hungary (seven).

Meanwhile, Bottas must be feeling quite awful after crashing out of the German Grand Prix from fourth position to miss out on a golden opportunity to close the championship deficit, and with his drive under scrutiny from some quarters, he desperately needs a win in Hungary this weekend.

Verstappen (162 points) is third in the world championship for Red Bull Racing-Honda after his seventh race victory in Formula One in what was arguably the best performance of his career to date, and while you don’t necessarily think he is in contention for the championship, he could certainly challenge Bottas for second!

Vettel (141 points) is fourth in the championship for Ferrari after his come from behind drive at his home race, while his teammate Leclerc (120 points) is in fifth in the standings after a race that was in some ways similar to Monaco earlier this season, a race to forget!

Behind the Top Five in the world championship, Verstappen’s teammate Pierre Gasly (55 points) remains sixth in the standings despite going out late in the German Grand Prix due to collision damage on Lap 62, while McLaren-Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (48 points) closes up on Gasly in the championship after finishing in fifth.

Behind them, Kvyat (27 points) has moved up to eighth in the standings after his shock podium finish for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, ahead of Räikkönen (25 points) for Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari, while McLaren-Renault’s Lando Norris (22 points) and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (22 points) are tied on points for 10th in the world championship, with Norris ahead due to two sixth-place finishes in 2019 compared with Ricciardo’s one.

Looking at the Constructor’s Championship, Mercedes (409 points) still have a huge 148-point lead over Ferrari (261 points), while Red Bull Racing-Honda (217 points) close their deficit to Ferrari to 44 points.

Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (70 points) consolidated their position as Formula One’s fourth-best team, while a huge fight is brewing for fifth in the championship between Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (42 points), Renault (39 points), Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (31 points), Haas-Ferrari (26 points), and Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (26 points), and at long last, Williams-Mercedes (one point) score their first point of 2019 thanks to a 10th-placed finish for the courageous Robert Kubica.

So, who is going to win the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix?

Mercedes showed in Monaco earlier this year what type of car they have in low speed corners, and given that the Hungaroring is similar in nature in so many ways (without the walls so close of course), you feel that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are the ones to beat, but you cannot rule out Ferrari and Red Bull Racing-Honda giving Mercedes a run for their money!

 

 

2019 Czech Republic GP (MotoGP) – Preview

The mid-season break is over, and Marc Márquez returns from his mid-season break with a firm stranglehold on the 2019 MotoGP World Championship after claiming his seventh-straight premier class victory at the Sachsenring, and his 10th-straight across all classes at the German venue.

So, with 10 races remaining in the season, can anyone prevent Márquez from winning his sixth MotoGP World Championship, and his eighth across all classes?

The answer will be revealed at Round 10 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.

Márquez (185 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by 58 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (127 points) after his fifth race win of the season in Germany, and is in imperious form in 2019, having finished inside the Top Two in every race so far with the exception of crashing out of the lead at the Circuit of the Americas.

Meanwhile, Dovizioso has been struggling to keep up with the great Spaniard, having failed to finish on the podium in each of the last three races, and is in desperate need of a second race victory in 2019 this weekend at a circuit which should suit the Ducati, having won at the Brno Circuit last year in a thrilling race with then-teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Márquez.

Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (121 points) is third in the world championship, despite having not been on the podium in the last two races, while Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (101 points) is in fourth position in the standings despite crashing out of the last two races, which of course came after finishes the previous 16 completed races (not including the 2018 British Grand Prix).

However, a resurgent force is coming in the form of Maverick Viñales (85 points) from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP after winning in Assen, and finishing in second at the Sachsenring after a difficult opening seven races of 2019, where he only achieved one podium, and had three retirements. In my opinion, Viñales is one of the few riders when he is at his best and has the bike underneath him that can give Márquez a difficult time, and I believe he has at least another victory or two in him during the last 10 races of this season.

However, things are heading downhill for Valentino Rossi (80 points) after three retirements leading into the Sachsenring, where the seven-time premier class world champion only finished in eighth, 19.110 seconds behind Márquez, and you feel like the end might be nigh, maybe not in terms of his career, but in terms of high-level competitiveness for Rossi, and it is going to be interesting to see whether Rossi can turn his form around to prove that he is still capable of challenging for podiums and race wins on a consistent basis.

Behind the Top Six in the world championship, there is a strong three-way battle for seventh in the standings between Jack Miller (70 points) from Alma Pramac Racing, Fabio Quartararo (67 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT, and Cal Crutchlow (67 points) from LCR Honda, while there is also a three-way fight for 10th in the championship between Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (56 points), Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (52 points), and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (50 points).

So, who is going to win the 2019 Czech Republic Grand Prix?

This should be a strong circuit for Ducati, and Andrea Dovizioso should be very hard to beat, along with Danilo Petrucci, and to a lesser extent Jack Miller. However, you cannot discount Marc Márquez from the fight for the race win, and given that he is won twice at the Brno Circuit in the premier class, and three times across all classes, you feel that he can triumph over the Ducati riders, and if he does, he will take one big step towards winning a fourth-straight world championship!

2019 German Grand Prix – Preview

It was a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix victory for Lewis Hamilton in front of his home crowd at Silverstone in what was a Mercedes one-two, while it was a race to forget for Sebastian Vettel, colliding into Max Verstappen in the braking zone to Vale (Turn 16), and then receiving a 10-second time penalty on his way to 16th.

And, with the form of Red Bull Racing-Honda starting to improve, Ferrari will be starting to feel the heat as they both attempt to chase down Hamilton and Mercedes at the 2019 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, Round 11 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton (223 points) leads the championship by 39 points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas (184 points) after a dominant performance by Mercedes at Silverstone. Bottas grabbed pole position ahead of Hamilton, and led during the early stages of the race, despite Hamilton putting him under tremendous pressure, before pitting on Lap 16 for a new set of medium-compound tyres, giving Hamilton the lead, before a safety car four laps later gave Hamilton a “free” pit-stop, and a strategic advantage in that he was able to pit for a new set of hard-compound tyres, and go to the end of the race on that set, while Bottas had to pit again (since he hadn’t used at least two of the three available tyre compounds), and with Hamilton showing superior speed, the five-time world champion was able to cruise to victory.

This weekend in Germany, it is a must win for Bottas, given that Hamilton will be very hard to beat in Hungary in just over a weeks’ time, to remain a realistic hope of winning his first world championship.

Max Verstappen (136 points) is third in the world championship for Red Bull Racing-Honda after finishing the British Grand Prix in fifth after recovering from the collision with Vettel in the middle of the race, and remains ahead of the four-time world champion in Vettel (123 points), and his teammate at Ferrari in Charles Leclerc (120 points), who managed to claim third at Silverstone behind the two Mercedes.

Behind the Top Five in the championship, Verstappen’s teammate Pierre Gasly (55 points) is sixth after finishing fourth at the British Grand Prix, his best race finish since joining Red Bull at the start of 2019, while McLaren-Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (38 points) is seventh in the standings, pulling away in the lead of the battle of the rest so to speak, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen (25 points) of Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari, his teammate at McLaren-Renault Lando Norris (22 points), who is ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (22 points) based on two sixth-place finishes compared with one, to complete the Top 10.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (407 points) have extended their lead over Ferrari (243 points) to 163 points, with Red Bull Racing-Honda (191 points) closing to within 52 points of Ferrari. Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (60 points) continue to pull away from Renault (39 points), who likewise continue to pull away from Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (26 points), while we have a great battle for seventh between Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (19 points), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (19 points), and Haas-Ferrari (16 points), with Williams-Mercedes (zero points) sadly behind this battle, and last in the Constructor’s Championship.

So, who is going to win the 2019 German Grand Prix?

Mercedes are the favourites, but it is going to be an absolute scorcher at the Hockenheimring, with maximum temperatures set to be around 34 to 39 degrees Celsius, at least on Friday, if not on Saturday as well, which will bring both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing-Honda back into the discussion, but as I currently write this preview, there is set to be rain on Saturday and on Sunday, with the temperature set to drop to around 25-26 degrees Celsius for Sunday.

It is set to be an exciting weekend, and perhaps one of the races of the season, and with a point to prove, especially after the last three races since Canada, and after crashing out of the lead in the German Grand Prix last year, I predict Sebastian Vettel will get Ferrari’s first race win of 2019, and his first race victory since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix.

2019 British Grand Prix – Preview

Mercedes winning start to 2019 came to an end at the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, and it was a phenomenal performance by Max Verstappen, overcoming a poor start to come back through the field to claim an exhilarating victory for Red Bull Racing-Honda, the sixth of his career, and is the best-placed driver behind the two Mercedes in the standings heading into Round 10 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2019 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton (197 points) remains the leader of the championship by 31 points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas (166 points) despite his worst result of the season, finishing fifth, 22.805 seconds behind race winner Verstappen, at a circuit Mercedes expected they would struggle at, but will be looking to bounce back quickly at his home race this weekend, a race which he has won five times (2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), and if Hamilton wins this weekend, he will become the first driver to win the British Grand Prix six times!

While for Bottas, he needs to win this weekend to really start asserting some serious pressure onto Hamilton as far as the world championship is concerned as he hasn’t won since Round Four in Azerbaijan, and if the general trend continues, you feel like his chances of winning his first world championship will start slipping away.

Verstappen (126 points) is third in the championship after his first race victory of the season, defeating Charles Leclerc in the final laps after being behind his teammate Pierre Gasly in the initial laps of the races, who Verstappen later lapped in what was arguably the drive of 2019 so far, and will surely have opportunities for another win or two as the season progresses.

Sebastian Vettel (123 points) is fourth in the world championship for Ferrari, narrowly behind Verstappen after experiencing some mechanical issues in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, forcing him not to take part in Q3, and costing him the opportunity to grab pole position, and maybe control the race in Austria in what was Ferrari’s best chance to take victory since the missed opportunities in Canada and Bahrain.

Vettel’s teammate Leclerc (105 points) is in fifth in the championship after finishing second at the Red Bull Ring, being passed by Verstappen in the final laps to narrowly miss out on what would have been his first race victory in Formula One. Surely, his time to convert is near, but I am not sure if it will be this weekend.

Behind the dominant Top Five in the standings, Verstappen’s teammate Gasly (43 points) is sixth after another disappointing performance in Austria, and really needs to improve if he wants to be competitive with his teammate at the back-end of the season.

Carlos Sainz Jr. (30 points) is seventh in the championship for McLaren-Renault, ahead of teammate Lando Norris (22 points), and Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen (21 points) after all three scored points at the Red Bull Ring, while Daniel Ricciardo (16 points) remains inside the Top 10 in the world championship despite finishing 12th at the Austrian Grand Prix in his struggling Renault.

In terms of the Constructor’s Championship, Mercedes (363 points) still dominate Ferrari (228 points) to the tune of 135 points, while Red Bull Racing-Honda (169 points) remain in a lonely third. However, it is a tighter battle behind, although McLaren-Renault (52 points) are pulling away from Renault (32 points) in the battle for fourth, but it looks set to be a colossal battle for sixth between Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (22 points), Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (19 points), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (17 points), and Haas-Ferrari (16 points), while Williams-Mercedes (zero points) continue to struggle in 2019.

So, who is going to win the 2019 British Grand Prix?

We all know that Silverstone is a really fast, exciting, traditional race track, and while there are some straights and flat out sections that should suit the Ferrari, I think there are more than enough corners to give Mercedes the advantage, and with that, I think Lewis Hamilton will claim the British Grand Prix for a record sixth time, and for the fifth time in the last six years, but I think Ferrari could potentially give him and Mercedes a run for their money!

2019 German GP (MotoGP) – Preview

Maverick Viñales claimed Yamaha’s first race victory of 2019, and their first since the 2018 Australian Grand Prix by winning last weekend at Assen, while for his teammate Valentino Rossi, it was another shocking race, crashing out and taking out Takaaki Nakagami, making it a third-straight Did Not Finish, and you have to wonder if the seven-time premier class world champion, and nine-time world champion across all classes is thinking about retirement, or at least his future within the sport.

However, it was another podium finish for defending world champion Marc Márquez, his seventh of the season after finishing second at the Dutch TT, but will be aiming for a 10th-straight victory across all classes, and his seventh victory (all in a row, which would be a German Grand Prix record for wins in a row in the premier class) in the premier class at the Sachsenring, and move to within one of Giacomo Agostini’s eight German Grand Prix victories in the premier class at the 2019 German Grand Prix, Round Nine of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (160 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by 44 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (116 points), who struggled at Assen, finishing only fourth, and you sense it will be another race of damage limitation in Germany for him and his teammate Danilo Petrucci (108 points), who is third in the standings after finishing sixth last weekend.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (101 points) is fourth in the world championship after having his run of 16-consecutive race finishes come to an end, crashing out of the lead of the race on Lap Three to see his slim championship hopes really start to slip away.

Behind the Top Four, there is a good scrap for fifth in the championship between Rossi (72 points), Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo (67 points) after a second-straight podium finish in an impressive rookie season, also becoming the youngest rider to start on pole position in consecutive races, Viñales (65 points), and Jack Miller (60 points) from Alma Pramac Racing, who finished ninth in Assen, his worst performance when he has finished a race in 2019.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (60 points), and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (52 points) complete the Top 10 in the world championship.

So, who is going to win at the Sachsenring?

You cannot go past Marc Márquez to win for the 10th-straight year across all classes, and for the seventh-straight time in the premier class in Germany, but he will have the lessons of what happened at the Circuit of the Americas firmly at the front of his mind. Behind Márquez, I think that Fabio Quartararo and Álex Rins will be in the best position to complete the podium before MotoGP heads off on its mid-season break.