ROUND 17: AUSTRALIA 2019
JAMES TOSELAND’S INSIDER INSIGHTS: 28th OCTOBER 2019
Phillip Island Circuit - Australia
There are a few places I watch motorcycle racing from home and really miss not being there and the beautiful Phillip Island is definitely one of them!
From the picturesque, tranquil seaside village of Cowes, which is where most teams stay whilst on the island, to one of the world’s best race tracks you’ll ever ride around
It’s like a racers heaven! (As long as it’s not too windy)!!! Ha.
It’s in these latter races of the year where you truly get to see who has the qualities of becoming a champion.
You can have the most talent, the best bike, the best team and even the best motorhome in the paddock but if you haven’t got the cool head to make it count when it really matters then forget about it!
You will always be the bridesmaid if you can’t keep calm and focussed in highly pressurised circumstances. That’s exactly what Aron Canet has had trouble with in the past two races.
He crashed out in Japan with an unforced error and he crashed out here in Australia and handed the Moto 3 World Championship to Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
It’s all to do with coping with the pressures of your ultimate dream in life becoming a reality.
I can’t describe how difficult it is to keep a level head when you have the opportunity to fulfil all of your dreams and there have been many riders with more than enough talent and with the right support who should have been crowned champion over the years. These young Moto 3 riders however will find it much more difficult to cope with these emotions at their age.
As a young rider, you practice all the time on the bike and you get faster over time while honing your skills. You practice racing, overtaking, out breaking your opponents, slip-streaming, winning, losing, crashing, training, all for one goal... To be a world champion some day!
Unfortunately though it’s impossible to practice one essential ingredient to achieving this great feat; controlling your emotions when that dream becomes reality for the very first time without any experience of that feeling before forces it to be a natural instinct and that’s when the make-up of a true champion shines through.
Congratulations to Lorenzo Dalla Porta on becoming the world champion. He very much deserves it and my condolences go out to Aron Canet who has ridden very well all year to push the championship to this point of the season.
It’s a shame the battle didn’t go all the way to Valencia but Moto 3 this year has been outstanding.
We still have two rounds to go and I’m sure they won’t disappoint, even if the title has been wrapped up!
The opposite side of the spectrum to Aaron Canet in trying to clinch a world championship is obvious to see in how Alex Marquez’s rode in Phillip Island.
You can see he’s being overly cautious and riding stiff on the bike to protect his championship lead.
I know exactly how this feels also and it’s a horrible but fortunate position to be in when racing. It certainly doesn’t help your lap times and when you race nervous at world championship level you finish 8th!
That 8th place finish for Alex means he is now 28 points in the lead of the Moto 2 championship with only 2 rounds to go.
I think that’s a big enough lead now to help Alex relax enough in Sepang and Valencia to crown himself the 2019 Moto 2 champion. Alex very much deserves it this year.
He’s gone from the bridesmaid to the bride with outstanding performances this year and I hope he wraps it up in style now the pressure is off a little.
It was a dominant race here in Phillip Island for the factory KTM boys though!
KTM have a great track record at this circuit. Brad Binder and the fast improving Jorge Martin were dominant throughout the race though and came across the line 1-2.
Tom Luthi kept the pressure on Alex Marquez with another great ride in 3rd and I know Tom won’t be feeling like 28 points is too far out of reach to claw back.
In this situation Tom will be dangerous. He’s found form over the past few races and he has nothing to lose.
In these circumstances a rider can perform at their very best which means he will more than likely be fast in both Sepang and Valencia.
I can’t wait to see if Marquez keeps his cool in Sepang and see just how fast Tom can go with both of their different approaches to that race.
The only thing I can be certain of is that Alex won’t want the championship to go to the final race in Valencia. If he thinks the pressures are bad with 3 races to go, wait until he’s sat on the grid with one remaining!
But saying that, he’s been there before with his Moto 3 championship so that could be a huge advantage if the championship goes down to the wire!
And even with all the wind and rain the riders were subjected to at the weekend, Triumph’s 765 engine powered to another race lap record on Sunday!
That’s 12 race lap records from 17 races!!
Triumph have taken 14 records from the 17 rounds so far this year, that is a phenomenal achievement!
Let’s see next time out in Sepang!
To round up my sports psychology blog this week, let’s talk about Maverick Vinales’s last lap!
Maverick’s situation is much less complicated than Aron Canet’s or Alex Marquez’s. Here is what happened through my eyes... Maverick’s absolutely fed up with his Spanish rival winning all the time and resorted to win or bust! Simple!
That scenario is much easier to explain than the other two that’s for sure!
It was a brilliant race until that point though and it was another magnificent ride from Marc Marquez who took his 55th Grand Prix victory which elevated him in to 3rd in the all-time winners’ category.
It was also a very brave ride from Cal Crutchlow who crossed the line in 2nd place.
Only one year ago Cal broke his ankle quite badly going into the first corner at Phillip Island and it’s one of the fastest corners on any MotoGP circuit. To overcome the memory of that and have the confidence to throw it into that corner at around 160mph really showed off Cal’s grit and determination. Great ride Cal!
The fans also got what they wished for, an Australian rider on the podium with an outstanding ride from Jack Miller.
It was a real freight train for the final step of the podium once Maverick crashed out and Jack stepped up at his home race!
Brilliant racing again at Phillip Island throughout all three classes and we haven’t got long to wait to see the action again at Sepang this weekend!
Moto 3 is wrapped up, MotoGP is wrapped up but the Triumph powered Moto 2 championship is still very much alive!
Catch up next week!
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