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MotoGP: 7 races, 7 different winners

"Seven different winners in seven races is really important for the championship and really nice for the fans" - Marc Marquez.
MotoGP is enjoying a golden era of unpredictability, with seven different riders winning the last seven races - equalling the all-time record.

Starting with Mugello in June the top step of the podium has seen a non-stop rotation of Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Jack Miller, Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone, Cal Crutchlow and Maverick Vinales.

Adding to the excitement is that four different manufacturers (Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki) have shared the victory spoils, while four of the riders - Miller, Iannone, Crutchlow and Vinales - are first time winners.

The last time the sport celebrated four new winners was back in 1982, while there hasn't been more than seven different winners since 2000. There are six races in which to push the 2016 tally higher, starting at Misano this weekend.

Bad weather contributed to the drama at Assen, Sachsenring and Brno, but the fundamental shake-up has been down to technical changes.

MotoGP introduced 'unified' ECU software this season, the leading manufacturers sharing electronic development instead of working on their own bespoke systems, plus a switch from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres.

Both changes have received criticism, ranging from frustration with the less advanced electronics to some scary tyre incidents. But questioned on Thursday in the pre-event press conference (pictured), riders agreed the overall result has been a more exciting championship.

"For me it is much better because seven different winners in seven races is really important for the championship and really nice for the fans," said Honda's world championship leader Marc Marquez.

Valentino Rossi, the most experienced and successful rider on the grid, conceded that his opinion had changed over time.

"Yes, sometimes the first reaction is different than after half-a-championship," said the Yamaha star. "So it means that these new regulations work, especially from the ECU I think that was a good idea for everybody and help to bring the performance of the bikes closer. So better racing.

"At the beginning [of the season] I remember with the Michelin it looked like the races would be a lot more boring because nobody overtook. But Michelin worked hard on the front tyre, now it looks better, so you have a wider range of tyres for different riders and different bikes.

"I think the championship this year was also helped by the weather which at the last races was quite bad, but is very funny to watch."

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo dominated pre-season testing, then began the year with victory in Qatar.

But despite finishing first or second in all but one of the opening six rounds, Lorenzo has made just one rostrum visit in the six events since - the Spaniard struggling for confidence in cold and/or wet conditions.

"In my opinion there have been benefits and negative points," Lorenzo said of the technical changes. "For example to have the same electronics for everyone, firstly reduced the costs for all the teams and probably made the competition closer because you cannot have a difference in the performance of the electronics.

"But on the negative side, you stop a little bit the evolution of the electronics for street bikes and for the safety of the customers. For me it's the same with the winglets [banned from 2017]. The winglets give more contact [with the track] in the front, also in the future with the street bikes, and now you stop this evolution.

"But in general I think it is positive because it has reduced costs and made the races more exciting."

Two factories have ended long MotoGP win droughts this season; Iannone claiming Ducati's first win since 2010 and Vinales the first for Suzuki since 2007.

"Honestly, I think for Suzuki it's been really good because last year our [factory] electronics were quite simple and Yamaha, Honda and also Ducati were a little more developed," said Silverstone winner Vinales.

"After that, everything was new and it made the championship much more competitive. Also with the Michelins you have many tyre choices for the race, can do fun races and also you need to work hard on the strategy."

Of the present grid, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa are the only previous MotoGP winners yet to stand on the top step in 2016.

"I think the result is good. I'm happy," said Dovizioso of the changes. "For sure there is a possibility for more riders to fight for the victory. But at the end the riders fighting for the championship is always [the same]."

Indeed, Marquez's consistency - as the only rider to score points in all twelve races - means he holds a 50-point lead over Rossi and 64 point advantage over reigning champion Lorenzo.

Dovizioso, one of several riders to drop out of victory contention at Brno due to parts of his wet tyre thread being shed on the drying track, added:

"I think the regulations are good. The only things - when you lose a race because something is not perfect, it happened from the tyres or some other things - this is not good in MotoGP. Everything has to be at a top level.

"But apart from that I agree and it's really nice to see the racing now."

Crutchlow, who like Jack Miller is the only satellite rider to win a race since 2006, stated:

"I agree with most of the points already said. I don't think it's easy to write a set of rules for this championship. You have manufacturers, riders who all want different things. So I think Dorna, IRTA and everybody involved do a good job to write a set of rules.

"Of course not everybody is going to be happy but we'll see. As Marc said there's been a lot of different winners, good battles. Michelin are also doing a good job so hopefully it can continue in this way."

Might Dovizioso make it eight winners in eight races, at Ducati's home event this weekend?

"For sure it's something really big and important to win a race in MotoGP. It's very, very difficult. Everybody is here to try to get that result," Dovi said. "I'm not happy about [not winning] and I'll try to get that result.

"I think we have a chance. Still our package is not perfect, but is really good. Anything can happen and I hope it'll happen here, at this special place."

The repeat race winners this season are Marquez (3), Rossi (2) and Lorenzo (2).

By Peter McLaren






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owlockey

September 08, 2016 8:34 PM

Rossi at home, Lorenzo in Aragon, Pedrosa in Motegi, Dovi in Phillip Island 11 from 11 that would be even better! (Absolute long shot I might add also) besides I don't see Marc going too long without another victory.



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