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Cycle News Issue 48 December 4

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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VOL. 55 ISSUE 48 DECEMBER 4, 2018 P93 he was inconsistent, and—let's face it—crashed a bit too often at important moments. Then why Marc Marquez, when he crashed more times than any other MotoGP rider? (Exactly 23 times, by the way.) Why indeed. Because he very seldom crashed when it mat- tered. And is it really fair to put any Moto3 rider in at all, if it means putting them—even if only by implication—ahead of all but a handful of MotoGP riders? Well, in the end, fairness has nothing to do with it. It's a matter of opinion. The riders have had their fun. Now it's my turn. All the same, I often wish there could be more surprises. This past season, for instance, two rookies were now and then exceptional. Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin were disput- ing the Rookies Award, admit- tedly at some distance, but both did better than could be expect- ed. Especially Morbidelli. They both made the top 10 twice; the Italian's best was a fine eighth in Australia. And it hardly seems fair to have left out Moto3's Marco Bezzecchi, after he was only knocked out of championship contention in two late races, Thailand and Australia, through no fault of his own. And in only his second full season. Then again, champion Jorge Martin, who did make the list, had exactly the same happen to him in Jerez and France, where his assailant was none other than the aforementioned Italian. So here's my list, as it ended up, after a few chewed pencils and one too many late nights, and 19 times of paying the clos- est possible attention to every race. I'd be interested to hear any of your lists, of course. Actually, I probably wouldn't. It's too late now anyway. 1 – Marc Marquez Because of his saves as much as his wins. He is in a class all of his own. Obviously. 2 – Andrea Dovizioso If not actually the architect of Ducati's revival, he is that archi- tect's sounding board. Pity about his two unforced crash errors early on. 3 – Jorge Lorenzo Love him or hate him, the turnaround he achieved on the Ducati was awe-inspiring. Can't wait to see him on a Honda next year. 4 – Valentino Rossi His worst season, two Ducati years apart, since his first GP year in 1996. Rose above it by just keeping on keeping on. And he's 39, you know. 5 – Cal Crutchlow Can't help liking Cal, but more importantly he was the only oth- er rider to make the most of the difficult-to-ride Honda. Crashed once too often, sadly. 6 – Alex Rins Finishing the year well always leaves a good impression, and the 22-year-old Suzuki rider did it with two second places. Has a big point to prove next year. 7 – Maverick Vinales Did break Yamaha's longest-ever win drought, but was inexplica- bly erratic. Great riders need to be good on bad days as well. 8 – Pecco Bagnaia Immaculate Moto2 season with eight wins extended run of finish- ing in the points to 30 races. Watch him go in MotoGP next year. 9 – Jorge Martin When Moto2 is so ultra-close, the rider who can reliably find an extra seven or more tenths in a lap is obviously very special. 10 – Miguel Oliveira So good, but couldn't beat Bag- naia. Actually, his teammate also won three races, so on second thought, number ten is Brad Binder. Either way, it's tough to be 10th. CN

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