‘Only two factory teams scored points’
Incredibly, the only factory bikes to score any points in the race were the Yamahas of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi and the brand new Red Bull KTMS of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró, as Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Aprilia all crashed out (or failed to finish).
Yet it wasn’t down to track conditions or tyres, as the weekend saw the lowest number of crashes over a Grand Prix weekend since records began, with only 30 fallers across all three classes.
So what caused it all to go so wrong for the factory boys? Quite simply, pressure. Motogp has never ever been as competitive as it currently is, as demonstrated by an incredible showing from satellite bikes, a whole host of riders at the front, and six manufacturers battling it out for top honours.
But there’s another factor that needs to be taken into account too – the arrival of an incredible talent in the shape of Viñales. Upping the game in the top-flight class in a way that only a select group of greats has in the past (think Stoner, Marquez and Lorenzo), the young Spaniard has been a breath of fresh air.
Can he be the 2017 Motogp world champion? With 16 rounds and a long season still ahead of us, it’s far too early to make such a call, but he’s certainly living up to the hype!
EXPERT OPINION SIMON PATTERSON MOTOGP REPORTER