The MotoGP 2016 season was very exciting. It was one of the best seasons I’ve watched in my life. There were 9 different race winners which is new record. And I think that it says it all.
Let’s now look back at the season with my review. As usual I write something to each rider there.
At the beginning of the season it looked like it could be the title battle between Márquez, Rossi and Lorenzo but how the season was going it started to be pretty clear that Márquez was the biggest favourite to reach it. The race where he took the title was a bit bizarre as both his biggest rivals crashed out from the race and that was what Márquez needed to secure his another world title. But when you look at his season you should admit that he is well deserved champion. He didn’t finish only one race, in the rest of them he finished and always took points. Even in the races where he crashed, he was able to continue and gained some valuable points.
Valentino did look like he’s going to take his 10th world title. But he did some mistakes, had 4 DNFs and that cost him the chance to fight with Márquez. But overall I could say it wasn’t bad season for him. He achieved 10 podium finishes, he finished 14 races and in all these races he was in Top 10.
Firstly, I would like to say that from the title contenders Jorge is always my biggest favourite. I honestly have to admit that I hoped he could be the runner-up and he could beat Rossi. But Rossi was a bit better. Or actually let’s say Rossi was more lucky. Jorge started the season very well with victory in Qatar and he added another podiums. It looked very promising and I hoped he could win the title. But then it started to go from bad to worse. He had DNF in Barcelona and then two not very good races in the Netherlands and Germany. In Czech republic he was only 17th. It was the crazy race with changing bikes but I didn’t understand Jorge’s strategy there. It made me smile honestly. And I still don’t understand what he and his crew were trying to do. But then the old Jorge came back again when he took podium in San Marino and Aragon but then he crashed in the important race in Japan which meant title for Márquez. Jorge at least finished the season in good style when he won his home GP in Valencia.
Before the season I was really curious about what Maverick was going to show us. I thought he’s the dark horse of the year. Even with his Suzuki. His first podium came in France and that made me really happy. I was really waiting for his first ever victory and I was sure it could come soon. My intuition was right again. In the morning of the British GP I said “Maverick is going to win today.” And he did it. He managed it quite excellently that even I was surprised by it. But I was very glad for him, he did deserve it. Then he added some more rostrums and finished 4th in the overall standing just behind big MotoGP stars Márquez, Rossi and Lorenzo. I think new MotoGP star was born. Already now I’m so eager to see him racing with Yamaha. Some big things are going to happen, that’s what I think.
I have to say that his 2nd place in Qatar was a bit surprising for me. But then bad luck came. Dani Pedrosa did crash into him, then Andrea Iannone. Just lots of bad luck. It wasn’t very good part of the season for him. Then in Germany and Austria he took podium finishes so it looked like good luck is by his side again. He was a bit unfortunate in Brno then. But in the last part of the season he did take another victory. It was in Malaysia. So for him it was like unlucky part, then lucky part. But overall he finished 5th so it’s not bad at all.
Before the season I hoped that Dani could be in the battle for the world title finally again. But unfortunately he wasn’t. He didn’t start bad to the season, he did some podium finishes, also had quite a lot of P4s. But then some bad luck came to him as he even didn’t finish in top 10 and it cost him some important points. At the end of the season he was injured so he had to skip 3 race weekends. He came back for his home GP in Valencia (and last race of the year) but unfortuntely he didn’t finish the race.
Cal’s season can be divided into two parts – before his daughter was born and after his daughter was born. Before it there was just average Cal’s performance with lots of DNFs. But then when Willow was born it was like magical change not only in his private life but also in his racing life. This little girl brings him good luck it seems! In Germany he did score P2 but it was only the beginning. His victory in Czech republic was just phenomenal. Amazing. I was sitting there at the grandstands and keeping my fingers crossed for him. I was afraid he could crash or Rossi could catch him. But neither of it happened and Cal did took his first victory. It was one of the most amazing moments there. Then in his home GP at Silverstone he was starting from the pole position and finished the race as the second one. He added another one victory later in the season in Australia. Unfortunately he didn’t finish any from the last two season’s races in Malaysia and Valencia. But still, very great season for him.
Pol had pretty balanced season. There isn’t any major fluctuation in his results. It all was quite stable. He finished in Top 10 almost always so he got some importnat amount of points. So the 8th place in the overall standing is well deserved. The only one shadow about the season is the heavy crash after the race start at Silverstone. He collided with Loris Baz and it was really bad crash. I was a bit afraid of both of them but in the end for Pol it all was okay.
Rollercoaster season for Andrea it was. He wasn’t able to fully show us his racing skills as he had to skip a part of the season due to back injury. And it wasn’t an easy injury. However, before this injury happened, he did some impressions. Bad ones and also good ones. The bad one is for sure that some people started to call him “crasher” or the one who is very dangerous. Yes, he did some moves without thinking but I think we don’t have to call him dangerous. It’s not that bad with him. He has racing talent and skills, just should be more calm. He scored some podiums and his highlight of the season is his victory in Austria at Red Bull Ring.
My old time hero. I supported him so much when he was racing in the lower categories. These days I am not that big fan of him as I used to but I was really glad to see him doing well. He was 10th in the final World Championship standing and that’s amazing. He did some cool races with great results, for example P5 in Argentina and Czech republic (that was the season’s highlight for me, he was P5, his team mate was P4, it was an amazing day for Avintia in Brno), P4 in Malaysia. He also got the opportunity to race in factory Ducati Team. It was instead of the injured Iannone, unfortunately Héctor wasn’t able to fully grab this chance.
Aleix was always a bit behind his team mate Viñales. He didn’t have bad season but there was always something missing. He did some nice races with good result as P5 in Austin and Jerez or P4 in Motegi. But there were also quite a lot of DNFs unfortunately.
If someone told me at the beginning of the season that Álvaro would be 12th in the overall standing I wouldn’t believe. At the start of the year I was so afraid that Aprilia (my favourite team) would be the last one behind the others. But it wasn’t bad at all! And Álvaro did some nice work there and brought good results. He did some Top 10 results which nicely surprised me.
Eugene had only one DNF in the season, that was at the end of the season in Japan. He did some races where he really impressed me. The 4th place from Argentina is very valuable. He did some other nice results but I guess this is his best moment of the year.
Danilo wasn’t able to start the season with others in Qatar due to injury. He had to skip some more race weekends and he came there to the World Championship only in Le Mans at the beginning of May. So then his results were quite nice, normal, average. I actually don’t know what to write about him. There were some DNFs but also some nice Top 10 results.
Scott did the whole season but lost the battle with his team mate Petrucci for the factory bike for 2017. Actually now as I am writing about it I wonder how it all ended up. Will really Petrucci have factory bike next year? Well, back to Scott. He had there some DNFs unfortunately. But he also did one podium finish. For me it was a bit hard as he was fighting against Pol Espargaró for P3 and I wanted to see both of them on the rostrum. But Scott was the better one that time. It was in Assen. He added some more nice results as P4 in Germany or P6 in the USA.
My racing idol so let’s hope I will not be biased while writing these lines. As I already said I was afraid about the shape of Aprilia bikes. But bikes and boys did surprise me nicely. I was very happy. Well, Stefan’s season didn’t start ideally as he didn’t finish the race in Qatar but since then his results were quite consistent. He did some Top 10 results which made me happy. Unfortunately, he crashed in the warm up before his home GP at Sachsenring, he suffered a concussion and he couldn’t start to the race. For the second time in a row he wasn’t able to do his home race. In 2015 he had his arm broken. Now this. Big disappointment. But then he did some more nice Top 10 results and when they got the upgrade to the chassis he (and also Álvaro) did manage it to Q2! So when we look at all circumstances I think his season wasn’t bad.
Bradley scored some good Top 10 results but nothing special actually. And then in the second half of the season it came. Injury. He did injured himself during the Suzuka 8 Hours. I guess it was during the free practise but I am not sure about that. So you can correct me if you know that exactly. And that was a problem because he broke his leg. He skipped three race weekends and then came back for the Japanese Grand Prix. But he missed some important points so it’s only 17th place in the final standing.
Jack was only 18th in the final ranking. But everyone did notice he was there. You simply can’t overlook him. In the first half of the season he had some DNFs and he couldn’t start to the race in Austin due to small ankle injury. But then in Assen it came. It was crazy race but everything was playing in his favour. Jack did it and took his first ever victory! It was very emotional moment and it made me cry. I was still remembering how I was crying when he did score his first ever Moto3 victory and suddenly it all was there again but in MotoGP. Unbelievable. Then he added P7 in Germany which was really great result as well. But then unfortunately he got some injuries and couldn’t start to some race weekends. But for me the Assen victory will be one of the best season moments.
Michele did just a few appearances but finished 19th in the final standing. He did some races as wild card, some races instead of injured Iannone at Ducati Team, some races instead of injured Baz at Avintia. He wasn’t doing bad at all. He scored some good points. His best result was P7 from Misano which was really great result.
Loris was only 20th in the MotoGP standing. When you look at his team mate who finished 10th it’s really big difference. But during the season Loris was very unlucky. He didn’t finish some races, he wasn’t able to start to some races because of the injuries. I was really afraid of him when I saw the Silverstone crash where he collided with Pol Espargaró. He scored some points only in 6 races and that’s not enough. I hope his 2017 season will be a lot better. But I have to mention his amazing ride in Brno. I couldn’t believe my own eyes, he did great job and finished 4th. He also did very well in Malaysia where he finished 5th. Interesting is that in both cases it was mega day for team Avintia. In Czech republic he finished 4th just ahead of his team mate, in Malaysia he finished 5th just behind his team mate.
Although Tito was only 21st in the Championship standing he became the rookie of the year. The thing is he was the only one rookie there so he could be sure of this award already before the season :-D And to be honest I’ve never thought that he’s big talent but at the same time I have to say that I thought he would be able to do better there. He scored points 9 times but it was just small amount of points. His best season result was P9 in Argentina.
Yonny disappointed me. I am his supporter and follower and I simply hoped for something more than just 20 points. He scored points only 6 times, his best season result was P11. It all could be a little different if he didn’t crash from the lead in Assen. That was in the crazy race and he could do crazy result there. It was really shame.
During the season there also appeared some other riders. We could see Katsuyuki Nakasuga who finished as P11 at his wild card race in Japan.
We also could see his countryman Hiroshi Aoyama. He replaced injured Pedrosa in Japan and then also in Malaysia. Aoyama took 1 point in Japan.
In Australia Pedrosa was replaced by Nicky Hayden. It was a bit emotional to see him racing in Repsol Honda colours again. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to score any point. But before it Hayden took part in Aragon race where he was racing instead of injured Miller. He took there 1 point.
Alex Lowes participated in three race weekends. He was racing in Tech 3 and he was there to replace injured Smith. It was quite a big chance for him. But his results weren’t good. He finished 13th at his home GP at Silverstone but then he didn’t finish the race in Misano and he couldn’t start in Aragon due to injury. He had to be ready for his World Superbikes mission so he rather gave it up for Aragon. But I have to say that it was quite a big performance from him. One race weekend in WSBK, the other one in MotoGP and then again and again. Nothing easy!
Mike Jones raced in two events, he was 18th in Japan and 15th in Australia, his home GP. He said that for him this P15 was like victory. Both these race weekends he was racing for Avintia where he replaced Barberá who did race in Ducati Team as replacement for injured Iannone.
Also Xavi Forés appeared there for one race weekend. It was also for Avintia but it was instead of injured Baz and it was in San Marino. But unfortunately he didn’t finish the race.
The moment I was looking forward to so much came in Valencia. First ever time for new KTM bike. Everyone was curious about how it all would go. Well, it wasn’t as easy as all expected. The gap between them and the others was quite big. But for me it was something special because I always liked KTM. And Mika Kallio was racing there with the bike. My big Finnish idol. I really admire him. And he was back even with KTM bike. And it all reminded me the old great times when he was racing with this manufacturer in the lower categories. For me it was really special Grand Prix and some special moments. Shame is that Mika didn’t finish the race due to technical problems. And shame also is that he will not race with them in 2017 in MotoGP.
Maybe this post is a little bit longer than I planned but I really needed to say it all. MotoGP 2016 season was simply amazing and there is so much to write about! But now I think it’s already time to start thinking about 2017 season and looking forward to it.
Photo: Repsol Honda Team