MotoGP with Boris
2022 – Round 15 – Aragon
What more could you ask for? The return of Marc and Cal. The Beast pushing like a bastard (again). A tighter championship. And a Salvation Army band to kick it all off.
The fizzing was strong in the paddock when the Circus arrived in Spain. Marquez was back. So was Cal Cruthlow. And even Mir had hobbled back for a crack, hoping his ankle could cope.
Hope was everywhere. Taka had just been given a surprise one-year extension to his contract with LCR. Remy Gardner seemed to be OK with going to WSBK to race a Yamaha next year, and Augusto Fernandez had been signed to partner Pol in the Tech 3 team next year, so all the 2023 seats had been filled.
There were also lots of new parts to be essayed. New Kalex aluminium swingarms for the Hondas. New chassis for the Yamahas, and a sprinkling of new flywheels here and there. And of course, Marquez was back so Puig would probably take a break from tearful self-harming.
Marc was certainly back. But he was not back the way so many people hoped he would be back. He was quick, but nowhere near as quick or dominant as he’d been before. He was going out for short five and six-lap bursts during Practice, and he wasn’t setting the world on fire.
Still, he managed one of his trademark saves – off his elbow and knee when the front-end surrendered, and he had a tumble through the gravel as well a session later. He was OK…but he was just not riding as so many hoped he would be.
Fabulous, however, was still riding the wheels off his Yamaha, but he’d never had a lot of luck or success at Aragon, and had already ticked it off as not one of his favourite tracks.
That kinda left Pecco in the box seat – and on pole. But five wins in a row? I was doubtful. I adjusted my tipping contest picks accordingly.
It had to be the Beast, who was blazing hard in Practice and Qualifying, Pecco in second, and Fabulous might get a third, because…well, Fabulous.
Jack had qualified second, and while I want Jack to win with every fibre of my being, I just don’t think he’s got it in him this year.
Aleix Espargaro was also still in touch with the pointy end, and he’s still in with a chance at a championship, though I’m of the view the wheels have fallen off that bus and they’re only going to fall off further.
His team-mate, Maverick Vinales, showed some early pace in practice, but then reverted back to being somewhere near the back of the grid in 16th. No doubt, Cal, who was directly behind him in 19th, was reminiscing about the good old days when they were both competitive.
The first lap was utterly spectacular. As Pecco, Jack, and the Beast set off like scalded cats, behind them all sorts of carnage reigned. And Marquez was the epicentre.