Monthly Archives: September 2014

Moto3: Jack Miller’s promotion gives us a great case study in young rider development

ALEX

Those who believe young riders (and drivers) are better off taking more time to develop through junior categories will soon have a live case study to help analyse that theory. Jack Miller and Alex Marquez are fierce competitors in Moto3 with roughly the same levels of experience and performance. Both are destined for long careers. However, next year Jack Miller will be promoted to MotoGP whilst Alex Marquez takes a more gradual step into Moto2. Years from now it will be interesting to see which of the two riders has made a more lasting impression on the top class of racing in MotoGP. Given that 198 of the last 200 MotoGP races have been won by riders who came from Moto2 (or its 250cc equivalent) the smart money is on Marquez.

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V8SC: Marcos Ambrose’s comeback sets up a great narrative for 2015

MAM

15 years ago Holden was the dominant force in V8 Supercars. Between 1998 and 2002 the manufacturer won 80% of the races along with every championship. Ford, their bitter arch rivals, needed a hero and they found one in the form of Marcos Ambrose. A young Ambrose had been racing in Formula Ford overseas, where he beat Kimi Raikkonen to the European championship, but had to return home to Australia when his budget ran dry. He immediately marked himself out as a man to beat in the V8 series and pushed Ford back into the winners circle with two championship victories. Unfortunately for Ford, Ambrose did not hang around long and left Australia for a second shot at success overseas.

Ten years have since passed and Ford needs another hero. The Red Bull Racing Australia team, currently backed by Holden, has won five of the last six championships and is on track for another title in 2014. Step in Marcos Ambrose. Just like he did all those years ago, Ambrose is returning home to Australia (this time to raise a young family) and is joining Ford to give them renewed hope of success. Not only that, but he is joining Ford’s oldest V8 team as it enters a new partnership with Team Penske. It’s a stunning combination.

Marcos Ambrose’s comeback gives the 2015 championship a great narrative and it’s one that will be keenly promoted. If he can end Holden’s winning streak a second time it will be an incredible sporting triumph.

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MotoGP: Valentino Rossi’s 108th win was something pretty special

VR46

Up until the San Marino Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi had scored only one race win from his previous 68 starts. It has been a disappointing dry spell, but it has made those moments of success all the more sweet. Few of them will sweeter than his win at Misano last Sunday. Not only did Rossi win the race after an exciting battle for the lead, but he did so in front of a massive home crowd. Rossi will take extra delight in beating Marc Marquez who is on top form in 2014 and is undoubtedly the sport’s new superstar. This was a day for the old guard.

He took a rare victory, at home, by fighting hard against a younger version of himself. It was something pretty special.

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IndyCar: Exhaustion and relief. Will Power’s reaction to winning the Indycar title is beautiful to watch

WP14

Will Power entered the final IndyCar race of 2014 with a significant points lead but, having lost the title during the final round three times before, his history of missed chances weighed heavy on his shoulders. Power described the days leading up to the race as the worst of his life and that pressure grew substantially after qualifying when a mistake left him 21st on the grid.

The pressure intensified further during the race as Helio Castroneves brought himself into a position to steal the title from Power. It was tense. Very tense. It must have been horrible inside Will Power’s car where he had to deal with handling problems as the laps wore down.

When the chequered flag came out, and Will Power’s ninth place was enough to secure the championship, he crossed the finish line in tears. When he got back to pitlane there were no fist pumps, no screams, no wild celebrations with mechanics. Will just sat in his car exhausted. He was so emotionally drained that he could barely speak when a camera was eventually thrust in front of him. Will clearly outlined his personal torment, his relief, and did so with pure honesty. It was beautiful. I highly recommend clicking here to watch the interview as it was the sort of emotionally raw moment that makes sport so compelling.

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