2016’s nine GP win­ners

2016 saw NINE dif­fer­ent race win­ners in Mo­togp – here’s our ver­dict on them all

Motorcycle News (UK) - - In This Week's Issue - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN SPAIN MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@motorcyclenews.com

2016 has been a record-break­ing Mo­togp sea­son for many rea­sons – none less so than wit­ness­ing an in­cred­i­ble nine rid­ers take race wins. Smash­ing the pre­vi­ous record for most wins in a sea­son, and bring­ing satel­lite bikes back into con­tention for the first time in a decade, new rules, new tyres and ad­verse weather con­di­tions all com­bined to pro­vide the per­fect storm.

And with Miche­lin promis­ing to con­tinue their work to pro­vide tyres that work dif­fer­ently for dif­fer­ent rid­ers, in essence cre­at­ing a tyre war within a con­trolled class, next sea­son could see more of the same!

Jorge Lorenzo

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 3rd Wins: Qatar, Le Mans, Mugello, Va­len­cia Best moment: The fi­nal round of the sea­son at Va­len­cia is one of the few times this sea­son we’ve seen the Spa­niard do what he does best and to­tally dom­i­nate the en­tire week­end. Fastest in nearly ev­ery ses­sion, he rounded out a per­fect win with pole po­si­tion, the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record to go with it. Worst moment: A mid-sea­son wob­ble saw wet weather play havoc with Lorenzo’s con­fi­dence. He fin­ished far from the lead in Ger­many, the Nether­lands and the Czech Repub­lic. Next win? The com­bi­na­tion of Lorenzo’s record at Qatar and the power of the Du­cati means that we might not have to wait too long to see him back on the top step of the podium.

Valentino Rossi

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 2nd Wins: Jerez, Catalunya Best moment: Ei­ther of his dom­i­nant wins at Jerez or Catalunya count as Rossi’s best mo­ments of the year. While he’s been fast in re­cent years, Jerez was the first time since be­fore his foray to Du­cati where he was able to sim­ply get to the front and ride away from his ri­vals on out­right speed alone. Worst moment: Eas­ily his home race at Mugello, when he lost out on what looked like a sure­fire vic­tory when his Yamaha M1 suf­fered an al­most un­heard-of en­gine fail­ure. To add in­sult to in­jury, ri­vals Lorenzo and Mar­quez fin­ished first and sec­ond to mark the be­gin­ning of the end of his ti­tle hopes. Next win? It’s hard to imag­ine we’ll have to wait too long. New team­mate Mav­er­ick Viñales will mo­ti­vate more than ever

Jack Miller

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 18th Win: Assen Best moment: Few peo­ple thought this sea­son that Jack Miller could be in con­tention for podi­ums, let alone a race win, but the Aussie kid proved that Honda’s grand ex­per­i­ment to move him di­rectly from Moto3 to Mo­togp wasn’t as fool­hardy as some peo­ple thought. Worst moment: If the Assen win de­fined the first half of his sea­son then a crash dur­ing morn­ing warm-up for the Aus­trian Grand Prix laid out the sec­ond half of the year, forc­ing Miller to sit out four races and strug­gle through the pain bar­rier at Sil­ver­stone. Next win? Now es­tab­lished as one of Mo­togp’s fore­most wet weather spe­cial­ists, Miller could re­al­is­ti­cally take more wins at nearly any track on the cal­en­dar next year if the con­di­tions play into his hands.

Marc Mar­quez

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 1st Wins: Ar­gentina, Amer­ica, Ger­many, Aragon, Ja­pan Best moment: While he won his ti­tle at the fol­low­ing round, a stun­ning vic­tory in Aragon was the high-point of the Rep­sol Honda rider’s sea­son. He never looked back as he pow­ered away from the field to put one hand on the tro­phy with four races re­main­ing. Worst moment: Ar­guably, Mar­quez’s worst mo­ments of the sea­son came only after win­ning the 2016 ti­tle, crash­ing two weeks in a row at both Aus­tralia and Malaysia. Next win? It might not come at the first round of the new sea­son, un­less Honda dra­mat­i­cally in­crease the power of the 2017 RC213V for the long straights of Qatar – but with his 2016 win in Ar­gentina and his dom­i­nance at Austin, we shouldn’t have to wait long.

An­drea Ian­none

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 9th Win: Aus­tria Best moment: His win in Aus­tria, after putting on a sur­pris­ingly ma­ture per­for­mance to keep his team-mate be­hind him for a Du­cati one-two. Worst moment: It can’t be any­where but Ar­gentina, when an ill-ad­vised last cor­ner lunge on team-mate Dovizioso left both of them in the gravel – and most likely cost Ian­none his job at Du­cati for 2017. But there’s also a crash from the lead at Qatar and a bro­ken back at Misano. Next win? It’s hard to tell how well the Ital­ian will gel with the Suzuki GSX-RR next year. Re­quir­ing per­haps a more sen­si­tive hand than the Du­cati he’s been rid­ing, it might take him some time to get to grips with the bike. But, with both ma­chine and rider lov­ing Phillip Is­land, that could be his tar­get.

Cal Crutchlow

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 7th Wins: Brno, Aus­tralia Best moment: While the Brno win might have been his first ever in the premier class, tak­ing vic­tory in the dry at Phillip Is­land was ar­guably the big­gest moment in Crutchlow’s ca­reer.. Worst moment: Take your pick from the first half of the sea­son! Only one top 10 fin­ish and four crashes from the first eight races of the sea­son got the year off to a dread­ful start for the LCR Honda rider. Next win? Now that Crutchlow’s got a taste for vic­tory, it’s hard to imag­ine that he’s sud­denly go­ing to go back to be­ing happy with the oc­ca­sional podium. The Honda rid­ers have been promised a much-im­proved bike for 2017, and with the tyres and weather con­di­tions keep­ing things open, don’t count out a re­turn to the top step.

Mav­er­ick Viñales

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 4th Win: Sil­ver­stone Best moment: It has to be tak­ing his first win – and Suzuki’s first dry win in a decade – at Sil­ver­stone. He put to­gether the per­fect week­end to con­trol the race for a dom­i­nant win. Worst moment: When it rained. While the new con­trol elec­tron­ics might have played a huge role in help­ing Suzuki close the gap to the fac­tory bikes by al­low­ing them a more level play­ing field, they’ve also strug­gled to get the best out of it in the rain, lead­ing to a se­ries of dis­ap­point­ing re­sults for both Viñales and team­mate Aleix Es­par­garó. Next win? Viñales might have that lit­tle ex­tra he needs now, in the shape of a Yamaha M1 that, in the­ory, should be head and shoul­ders bet­ter than the Suzuki, de­spite all its im­prove­ments this year.

Dani Pe­drosa

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 6th Win: Misano Best moment: It was a tough year for Pe­drosa in 2016, as he strug­gled with new Miche­lin tyres that ev­ery­one thought might play into his hands. But that strug­gle made vic­tory at Misano even sweeter, when he was ab­so­lutely un­stop­pable come race day. Worst moment: Free prac­tice at Motegi, when the diminu­tive racer proved once again that he’s more prone to in­jury than any­one else in the class. Break­ing his col­lar­bone in a high-speed high­side, he was forced to sit out the three tracks that most likely pre­sented him with his best chance of adding to his tally in 2016. Next win? There are some cir­cuit where it’s hard to look to any­one but Pe­drosa. Ex­pect him to be as strong as al­ways at Sepang, Misano and Motegi.

An­drea Dovizioso

Cham­pi­onship po­si­tion: 5th Win: Malaysia Best moment: Fi­nally tak­ing his first Du­cati win in Malaysia, after nar­rowly los­ing out to team-mate An­drea Ian­none at Aus­tria ear­lier in the year. Worst moment: Austin, when the nor­mally mild-man­nered Dani Pe­drosa smashed Dovi out of the race and a cer­tain podium po­si­tion only seven days after team-mate Ian­none had done the ex­act same thing in Ar­gentina – and leav­ing him un­able to even­tu­ally do any bet­ter than fifth in the cham­pi­onship. Next win? Harder to call than it was in 2016, thanks to the ad­di­tion of Jorge Lorenzo to the Du­cati sta­ble for next sea­son. But with the huge power of the Du­cati and tracks like the Red Bull Ring seem­ingly made for the Des­mosedici, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The nine men who claimed the top step of the Mo­togp podium in 2016

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