Jerez looked as though it was, once again, going to be the Fabio show; the Frenchman with the Italian sounding name built a commanding lead and pretty much dominated the race until half way through when the poor kid got arm pump and couldn’t hold on any more. That left the door open for a brace of factory Ducatis to take a one-two with Miller and Bagnaia abord them. Anyway, this is how we rated the top ten finishers in the MotoGP at Jerez.
Jack Miller – 9/10
Jack didn’t really put a foot wrong in the race, but he was definitely only the second fastest man on the day. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve the win, because to finish first, first you’ve got to not get arm pump. Or what ever the saying is. But I can’t give him full marks when Quartararo left him for dead in the opening laps. That said, it’s good to finally see the Aussie doing what he needs to do on that factory bike, after a fairly pedestrian start to the season.
Pecco Bagnaia – 8/10
P2 went to Pecco, making it a memorable one-two for Ducati, on a circuit that they probably weren’t expecting it on. He wasn’t quite as fast as Jack, but he isn’t as experienced, so you cant take that away from him. Pecco had a nice little ding-dong with Morbidelli which highlighted the speed of the Ducati, but also the cornering prowess of Morbidelli’s Yam; which was interesting. Pecco showed he has got the speed to fight for wins in MotoGP even if he hasn’t won one yet. I don’t think it’ll be long before we see him on the top of the box.
Franco Morbidelli – 9/10
You’re not doing bad when you can stick a two-year-old bike on a MotoGP podium. That’s exactly what Morbz did at Jerez; fair play. Like Miller, Franco’s had a bit of a slow start to MotoGP in 2021, but it looks like he turned that around in Jerez. He got a cracking start (P2 into turn one) and never really missed a beat all race. In fact, in the last few laps, it looked as though he might even mug Pecco for a second place finish. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but the boy with the big hair still impressed me. Especially when you bear in mind his teammate Valentino Rossi didn’t even finish in the points (17th).
Takaaki Nakagami – 8/10
Nakagami has got to be the least famous MotoGP rider in the top ten at Jerez; I don’t know why it is, but you never really hear much about him. Even when he finishes fourth. And he might be unassuming, but the Japanese lad is really, really fast. The next best Honda was Marc Marquez in ninth on the Factory Repsol machine. If you ask me, Nakagami needs a pay-rise. Send him a few more Yen, he deserves it.
Joan Mir – 6/10
I know Mir has proved that you don’t have to win races to win championships, but it makes it a lot easier. And when you’re a reigning World Champion, you’d probably be hoping for a podium finish at (one of) your home GPs, rather than sixth. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and in fairness to Mir, 11 points for fifth place are better than zero points; which is what teammate Rins scored after tumbling off. Perhaps the Suzuki’s weren’t suited to Jerez; in which case, well done for staying on and getting a few points. He’ll be hoping for a few more next time though.
Aleix Espargaro – 7/10
I think Aleix displayed exactly why he is still a MotoGP rider with his performance at Jerez. It’s no secret that that Aprilia probably isn’t capable of winning. But that didn’t stop ‘Spaggers finishing in front of factory bikes from Yamaha, Honda, KTM and Suzuki (if you count Rins who crashed and remounted). And it wasn’t a fluke, because he finished sixth last time out at Portimão, too.
Maverick Viñales – 5/10
Yamaha want race wins from Maverick Vinales, and he hasn’t delivered that since round one. And it’s not like his package isn’t capable of it because his teammate Fabio has proved that it is. He was one of the only riders to choose the soft front tyre, perhaps that was his mistake. I’m not sure if there’s anything wrong, he’s always seemed a bit hit and miss, and it wasn’t a horrendous performance, but we all know he can do better. Let’s see what happens next time.
Johann Zarco – 6/10
Eight place wasn’t a terrible result for Zarco, but I don’t think he’ll be too ‘stoked’ about it. Early on he was in a bit of a battle with the Repsol Honda boys who he managed to drop rather quickly, once he’d got in front of them; that was pretty cool to see. Other than that, it’s hard to pass comment on what was probably a fairly lonely race for him.
Marc Marquez – 5/10
When will the Marc of old be back? Will he ever be back? I think he will, but the more I see him struggling to get in the top ten, the more I wonder whether he really will be back. After everything he’s been through, to finish in the top ten in a MotoGP race is no mean feat at all. But I think there were a lot of people that expected he’d be back up to speed a bit sooner. Me? I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. And I still don’t. Has he won his last world championship? Has he won his last race? Who knows?
Pol Espargaro – 4/10
With Marquez not up to full strength and full speed, Honda’s factory hopes are pinned on Pol. That might be more pressure than he is used to but that’s what comes with a factory ride (and salary). Some will argue that the Honda MotoGP bike is a bit of a dog to ride, not that anyone told Nakagami at Jerez. I might be wrong, but I don’t think Pol’ll be happy with tenth, and I certainly don’t think Honda will. I expect he’ll be told he needs to get his finger out before he gets the Alex Marquez treatment (i.e. sacked).