With nine races run and the riders of the 2017 MotoGP championship laid up on the beach for their month-long summer break, we’ve finally had a brief truce in what has so far been the fiercest start to a Grand Prix championship season that we’ve ever seen, with no less that five riders going into the second half of the season vying for the title.
Five winners, ten podium finishers and four riders separated by only ten points at the top of the championship standings after nine races mean that statistically it is the closest title race in the premiere class’s 68-year history.
With that in mind, we look at the contenders so far and chart just how well they’ve managed their first halves of 2017.
- Championship position: 1st
- Points: 129
- Wins: 2
- Podiums: 5
Reigning champion Marc Marquez got his season off to somewhat of a rocky start despite taking his now-traditional win at the Circuit of the Americas, with it taking a crash in Argentina and another in France to remind him that he won the 2016 championship race not through outright speed but through consistency – a lesson that he’s now taken firmly to heart.
Running a campaign much the same as last year’s now, the Repsol Honda rider has remembered that he still isn’t able to repeat the feats of 2014 and ten consecutive race wins despite gradual improvements to Honda’s RC213V machine. No longer the wild animal of a bike that it was a few short months ago, their problems nonetheless still aren’t quite fixed – no doubt to the huge relief of Marquez’s rivals.
Perhaps rattled a little at the start of the season by the arrival of his super-fast former sparring partner Viñales, that means that he’s now once again concentrating on a very strategic campaign – striking where he can (his favoured anti-clockwise circuits of Texas and Sachsenring) and taking safe points elsewhere (like he did at Assen and his home race in Barcelona). It’s a strategy that’s worked for him in the past, and with the championship lead in hand (however tenuous his lead might be) it’s working for him again this season.
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