Yesterday’s opening round of the 2017 MotoGP series was interesting for any number of reasons. We want to focus on a few.
Reigning Moto2 champ Johann Zarco (Yamaha) is fast! He is not known for crazy, out-of-control riding, but rather smooth, calculated aggression. Zarco will learn from his fall on lap 7 yesterday, but the fact remains he was pulling away from the best riders on the planet prior to that fall. He has announced his arrival.
The biggest surprise was Aleix Espargaró on his Aprilia. Espargaró finished sixth yesterday, but he was less than 1 second behind each of the Factory Hondas. Indeed, he had been dicing with Dani Pedrosa, and even passing him, during the race. Quite remarkable for both rider and bike … we will have to wait and see if Aprilia and Espargaró can repeat this performance at other tracks.
Scott Redding (Ducati) has done nothing but struggle since entering the MotoGP class a few years ago, but he finally seems to be finding his rhythm. Redding finished in 7th yesterday, less than 10 seconds behind the winner. For what it is worth, Redding also trounced Factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo, who finished more than 10 seconds behind Redding.
Finally, the KTM effort was disappointing. Aside from Sam Lowes, who continues to struggle on his Aprilia, the KTMs beneath Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith, finished at the back of the pack — more than 30 seconds off the lead at the checkered flag.
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