When talking about the adrenalin-fuelled sport of racing, be it on two wheels or four, the last thing you want to hear about is ‘consistency’. That trait is the very antithesis of what racing should be about, which is fighting tooth and nail for the lead every metre of every lap. And yet, consistency is how Joan Mir has got both hands on the MotoGP championship in 2020.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if Mir has been tooling round amassing podiums in order to get the job done. He has been fighting tooth and nail; it’s just that that has resulted in him getting podium after podium while his rivals see-sawed up and down the finishing order like yo-yos.
Personally, I wouldn’t have cared if he had taken the championship without a race win - what a fantastic story to end what has been an incredible year. But it feels absolutely right that he was rewarded with his first win in Valencia in what ultimately became his championship year. It just rounds off the story perfectly.
If conditions for Valencia 1 were unpredictable, then Valencia 2 was much easier on the riders, it being largely dry and (almost) warm! Not that this helped Fabio Quartararo. Certainly, he qualified well but the race pretty much summed up the large part of his season; very nearly taking out Viñales at turn one of lap one and completely overshooting the corner before re-joining virtually last. He was making progress back through the pack before sliding ignominiously out of the race.
From looking like a shoe-in for the championship to looking hopelessly lost, down and out, Quartararo must be looking back and wondering exactly it all went wrong after winning the first two races at a canter.
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WHAT NEXT FOR NORTON AND BSA?
Following on from the success of the Triumph revival, a lot of noise was made about the arrival of Norton back on the motorcycling scene in 2008. The new owner of the brand, Stuart Garner, got everyone excited when he announced that he would be making not only a new Norton Commando motorcycle but would be returning to the Isle of Man TT with a new superbike, powered by an Aprilia V4 motor.
In the world of motorcycling, it is rare, if not unique, for a manufacturer to have two bites of the cake - both with a cherry on top - with two iterations of one particular model, especially when separated by a couple of decades.
TALES FROM THE HOOD
SA & MOTORCYCLE COMMUTING
NORIYUKI HAGA SULTAN OF Slide
Rare in-depth interview with Nori-chan himself explains how the Sultan of Slide rode the bike - and the crucial differences between Superbike and 500 GP
THE GXCC’S PUSH THE SEASON TO THE LIMIT IN 2020
THE GREATEST Comeback?
The greatest British bike racer? Surtees? Sheene? Both have good claims to the title but, in reality, there can be only one king. This is the story of the race that only served to enhance an already glittering reputation.
Engineering DEAD-ENDS Part 2: Hub-Centre Steering
Motorcycle development never stands still, although maybe recently, it would be more accurate to say that motorcycle electronics development doesn’t stand still; it is very little in the physical architecture of a motorcycle that is likely to change. But it wasn’t always so and one innovation that was tried not only on road bikes but also 500cc Grand Prix bikes was hub-center steering.
Great Bikes? The Ariel Square Four
Elsewhere you will have read about the Ariel motorcycle company and here I intend to talk more about their most famous design, the incredible Square Four.
So, What Really Happened To The British Motorcycle Industry?
It’s a story that no-one is unfamiliar with; how the British motorcycle industry withered and died through the 1960s and into the ‘70s. What was once a thriving industry that sold state-of-the-art motorcycles from world-famous manufacturers, by the hundreds of thousands, was reduced to first a handful and then just one manufacturer, producing an outdated design in the face of modern and reliable machines from Japan.
Gone But Part 5 Ariel Not Forgotten
Turner’s Square Four remained in production from 1931 to 1959