How good does it feel to have the MotoGP season start again? We’ll have 19 races for 2019, and if they’re anything like Qatar we’re in for a treat! Here are our Riders Of The Day.
Josie Smith- Moto3.
Moto3: Kaito Toba (obviously). People were questioning why he still had a ride for 2019 and he proved exactly why he deserves to be there. He was consistently within the lead group and he used Dalla Porta’s slipstream strategy to his own advantage. Plus, he made history.
Moto2: Remy Gardner: He was pushing that bike beyond its limits in the end, he’s lucky it even stayed upright. He’s improved massively through testing and it won’t be long before we see him on the podium.
MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow. He shouldn’t even be able to walk, let alone get a podium! The man is an animal! He hasn’t raced since Japan so it just shows how bad ass he is that he can get back on the bike and throw everything he has at it to get a podium and then even be able to make jokes once he’s done. Totally Cal.
Liv Ellis- Moto2.
Moto3: Kaito Toba. He was able to pick himself up after being bustled about in the opening laps. Classic use of the final slip stream to steal the win. Last few laps were very smartly played, definitely displayed Toba’s experience in the class. Much deserved win.
Moto2: Remy Gardner. Another smart rider, simply consistent all weekend and today was no different. Played it cool with Fernandez on his tail and was rewarded justly. While the admired are usually the race underdogs and table-climbers, consistency is what shows in the overall standings, it will be a very good year if Remy continues this way.
MotoGP: Joan Mir A very admirable start to the rookie’s season, while the end result wasn’t the desired one for Suzuki, Mir still did a great job at sealing decent points while gaining great experience with the race front-runners.
Ryan Lilly- MotoGP.
Moto3: Kaito Toba. First Japanese winner in Moto3 and sort of came out of nowhere. Kaito goes well around Qatar but I wasn’t expecting a win! He positioned himself perfectly to slipstream Dalla Porta to the line and take his and Japans first Moto3 win!
Moto2: Tom Luthi In the past, we have seen that the transition back from MotoGP to Moto2 can be tough, with Sam Lowes, Hector Barbera, Hernandez etc but Luthi’s adapted to the new Triumph 765cc machines really well. A slow start for the Swiss rider but pulled his way back and that last few laps when Luthi pulled the pin, it was very impressive and to miss out on the win by +0.026s behind Baldassarri!
MotoGP: It’s tough between Joan Mir and Valentino Rossi. Mir rode a race that you would expect from a MotoGP World Champion, running with MotoGP winners and also fighting very close to the 7x World Champion. Valentino did what he does best, recover a poor weekend… 14th to 5th was an impressive ride for the Doctor!
Jacob Ward- Editor.
Moto3- Marcos Ramirez. Marcos had to recover from an awful start (through his own fault after he qualified badly) but he made his way through the pack and ended up 4th. A job well done from a seemingly bad position. But you have to give Kaito Toba a shout out, making history as the first ever Japanese Moto3 winner!
Moto2- Augusto Fernandez. Augusto hasn’t taken the traditional route to the Moto2 world championship, having come from CEV Moto2 as opposed to the usual route of the Moto3 championship and taken a while to arrive. He grabbed his chance with both hands in the Pons team and rode to an excellent 5th to open the season.
MotoGP- Alex Rins. Rins was brilliant. The fact he didn’t end up on the podium was nothing short of gutting for the Spaniard, having been incredible throughout the race but getting passed on the 0.6 mile long straight by the Ducati and Honda and having to do it all over again. A win is on the horizon for the Suzuki man.
Nat Jarvis- Business Development Manager.
Moto3 – Kaito Toba: Sensational ride, he took a while to settle but once he did he spent the last few laps working the other riders around him out and was ultimately rewarded with the first ever Japanese Moto3 victory.
Moto2: Remy Gardner: Remy is more my rider of the weekend he’s been the dark horse throughout winter testing and he was there all race today and didn’t make silly mistakes and look so damn good with it.
MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow: October 2018 he suffered 17 breaks in his right ankle that to mere mortals is 12-18 months recovery time, yet in less than half of that he’s standing on the podium in the season opener after having such limited time on the new RC213V.
Matic Kovacic- World Superbikes.
Moto3: Kaito Toba. After 2 very tough years in Moto3, it was Kaito’s turn to shine in Qatar and I could not be happier for him.. Many doubted him, even questioning why the team has retained him, but he responded to the critics the best way, riding a very intelligent race to get his first win, which is also the first Japanese win in Moto3 class. It’s too early to speak about a title challenge, but I think he could be there or there about if he manages to retain that form over whole season.
Moto2: Remy Gardner. Probably the easiest decision out of all 3 classes.. Ever since jumping on a Triumph powered Kalex Remy has looked like a real deal. It’s too bad that he got “robbed” of that elusive podium on the line, but I think he just showed what he can really do given the proper bike.. Finally words of his father came true, a lot more to come from him, I have no doubt about that.
MotoGP: Miguel Oliveira. My MotoGP rider of the day will surprise many and probably will leave you wondering what I was smoking while watching the race. I picked Miguel because I was seriously impressed with his performance during the race, considering he is riding a KTM RC16 that still needs some work. Even though he didn’t score any points, he was leading KTM in a race for quite some time, which is huge for him and Tech3. The future is bright for him when the bike progresses further.
With the circus moving to Argentina next, will the championship leaders consolidate their place, or will someone else step up?
Featured Images- MotoGP.com