I really like the shape the 2022 MotoGP season is taking. You’ve got Suzuki leading the Teams Championship, Ducati leading the Manufacturers Championship and now, after the latest round in Argentina, an Aprilia rider leading the Riders Championship. That rider is Aleix Espargaro. He was one of three Spaniards to stand on the MotoGP podium, yesterday in Argentina, and the ninth different rider in only three rounds to do so. That’s why there are so many riders within spitting distance of the championship lead. In fact the top five riders are all within ten points of the lead… and they all ride different bikes too (A. Espargaro, Aprilia; B. Binder, KTM; Rins, Suzuki; Bastianini, Ducati; Quartararo, Yamaha). So after another epic MotoGP race, this is how we rated their performances out of ten. Well how I (Boothy) rated them, anyway…
1st Aleix Espargaro 10/10
Like him or not, it’s hard to fault Espargaro-the-elder’s performance in the MotoGP race in Argentina. He knew what he needed to do to win, and he did it. That’s despite never actually having won a MotoGP race before. Rather than rushing to the front, he bided his time to work out where he could pass Martin for the win; and it might have taken three attempts to pull it off, but he did pull it off. Now he’s got a seven point lead in the championship, which is pretty impressive when you consider how close the rest of the championship is. And you’ve got to say he took the championship lead in style, winning his first ever MotoGP race at it 200th attempt. Full marks.
2nd Jorge Martin 9/10
Young Jorge just needed to get some solid points on the board, and that’s exactly what he did yesterday. I can imagine it was a bit frustrating leading all those laps, only to be mugged with a few to go, but realistically it didn’t look like he had the pace at the end of the race, on used tyres, to match Espargaro. I’m sure the Pramac Ducati boys were thrilled to see him settle for second and 20 points, rather than throw the bike into the gravel trap, for the sake of an extra five points and a race win.
3rd Alex Rins 9/10
First of all, well done for not crashing, Rinsy, I know that can be a bit of a struggle for you sometimes. Yesterday, Rins proved that as long as he can stay on the bike, on his day, he’s as good as anyone else out there. In the final stages of the race he was steadily catching the leaders and given a few more laps, might have ended up with a few more points. But there wasn’t a few more laps. Still good effort though.
4th Joan Mir 8/10
Joan Mir’s always there or there abouts isn’t he? He’s like a bad smell, that nobody can get rid of. Whilst he doesn’t very often win, he’s usually either on the podium, or close to it. And when MotoGP is as close as it is these days, it’s not a bad tactic. Especially now Suzuki have found a bit more straight-line speed.
5th Pecco Bagnaia 7/10
After a slow start to the 2022 MotoGP Championship, Pecco Bagnaia’s languishing down in 14th in the standings, post Argentina. He’s in danger of making me look daft, after convincing anyone that would listen to me that I was sure he’d take the championship spoils in 2022. To be fair to him, on this occasion I think it was his crap qualifying that ruined his chances… but that’s all part of it, isn’t it? He’s going to have to do better if he wants to avoid embarrassing me.
6th Brad Binder 7/10
Brad Binder’s obviously been to the Joan Mir School of MotoGP Racing. His consistent scoring of semi-decent to decent points (P2 in Qatar, P8 in Indonesia and P6 in Argentina) has earned him P2 in the MotoGP standings, as we speak. He still needs to sort his qualifying game out though… if’ he’d have started sixth on the grid, rather than twelfth, I bet you’d have seen him up there with the two Suzukis. Sort it out, Brad.
7th Maverick Viñales 7/10
I was convinced Maverick Viñales was a better rider than Aleix Espargaro, and that if there was any winning to be done on Aprilias, it would have been Mav’ that was doing it. Especially somewhere like Argentina, where he won on his Yamaha back in 2017. But no, Aleix is either better than I thought he was, or Maverick isn’t as good as I thought he was. Either that or the Aprilia is a bike that’s been built completely around Aleix, and Viñales is struggling to get to grips with it. Because Maverick is a proven race winner, and that bike’s now a race winning bike too… but he doesn’t show any signs of being able to win on it. There’s still time, I suppose.
8th Fabio Quartararo 6/10
I don’t suppose the reigning champ enjoyed battling with the new(er) kids on the block, on their satellite machinery, but that’s what he had to put up with yesterday. Partly because of his below par qualifying (which he’ll probably blame Jack Miller for, anyway), but also because of his fairly pants start. He’s not completely fucked it though, as he might be fifth in the championship, but he’s only actually ten points shy of Espargaro, in the lead. And it’s a long old championship.
9th Marco Bezzecchi 9/10
On the first few laps, when Marco Bezzecchi was messing about with Darryn Binder, fighting for 20th position, I don’t think anyone expected to see him in the top ten, come the end of the race. I certainly didn’t. But he pulled it out the bag in Argentina, and proved exactly why he deserved the promotion to MotoGP in 2022 (from Moto2 in 2021). Interestingly, his teammate Luca Marini, did the opposite, going from a potential podium position, to 11th at the end of the race.
10th Enea Bastianini 6/10
Now the ex-championship leader, I imagine Enea Bastianini is feeling pretty sorry for himself after a tenth place finish. To be fair to him though, you could see the lad was trying and there are a lot of fast riders on the grid, so tenth isn’t that bad. In fact they’re all fast, let’s be fair. Maybe next time, Enea.