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