Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 48 December 1

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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P94 CN III IN THE PADDOCK BY MICHAEL SCOTT W ell, we made it. No thanks to Covid-19. A kind of full GP season, that overcame threats of further cancellations all the way to the hastily replanned November conclusion. And—maybe thanks to Co- vid-19—it was a season of rare fascination. The year the big beasts bit the dust, literally, for Marc Marquez, who took Honda down with him after his horrible Jerez crash. No one would wish it on him, but boy, wasn't it compelling without him? The unexpected came in battalions, and the pre-season preconceptions did a big face- plant. As did many of those that arose in the first couple of races, when it finally got going in Jerez in July. Yamaha didn't need a big crash or bad luck to overturn expectations. They managed it all by themselves. Their latest factory bike more often hampered than helped Ros- si and Vinales, and while it looked for a while as though Quartararo was going to become a Big Beast in spite of being hampered by a 2020 M1, that didn't last, as he too was ambushed by the bike's inconstancy. Funnily enough, in a year of failure this is likely to see heads roll, Yamaha actually managed more wins and podiums than any other factory. Just too seldom for the same rider twice. And almost never for the biggest star, Rossi. It was left to Morbidelli, the lowliest rider condemned by his junior status to a year-old bike, to finish top Yamaha. Indeed, he was actually title runner up, a mere 13 points shy. But by the same tortured, morale-sapping logic that kept Rossi on the top tier of entitlement when obvi- ously knocking on towards the outer limits of his sell-by date, the sorcerer's apprentice is condemned to spend next year on the same old bike again. Now it will be two years old. Maybe the same unintended consequences will prevail, once again, for him, for without an engine failure and an entirely in- nocent crash (with Zarco) in Aus- tria, he might even have been champion. Hope his pay grade matches his achievements. Ducati was content with shoot- ing their top rider Dovi where it hurt, in the braking zone. Luckily they had the ever-improving Jack Miller to take up the burden. Unluckily, when he wasn't get- ting knocked off, his bike kept THE YEAR THE BIG BEASTS BIT THE DUST

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