Ah yes, “la gallina vecchia fa buon brodo”, Italian for “The old hen makes a good broth”. The first three opening rounds of the 2017 MotoGP season have been nothing short of spectacular. The clear favorite entering the championship was Maverick Viñales. He stunned the World by winning the first two races of the championship. Valentino Rossi on the other hand was more of a dark horse. Through qualifying and practices, it seemed as though Rossi was not on par to perform in the races. Miraculously, even after not qualifying well in the first two races, Rossi still made his way to the podium.
Many may ask how this is possible. It is honestly unknown how he can have such a terrible qualifying, and still make it to the podium. It must come down to his pure skill to ride a motorcycle. Its been known for a while, that it takes him a while to do well in practice and qualifying. There are those rare qualifying sessions where he comes out of nowhere and makes pole position.
The Austin Gran Prix was pretty exciting. Making up the front row of the grid was Marc Marquez in pole, Viñales in second, and Rossi in third. This was Rossi’s first front row qualifying of the season so far. From the start of the race, Dani Pedrosa, from fourth, made a great start to the race. He lead the race for a while, before Marquez made a charge to the front. Unfortunately, Viñales crashed out of the race. Rossi held back in third place as Marquez and Pedrosa battled for the lead.
Rossi was coming under pressure from Johann Zarco in fourth place. Zarco made an aggressive pass on the Italian in the chicane section after turn one. There was no place for Rossi to go, so he was forced to pick up his bike and go through the chicane completely. This brought him slightly closer to Marc in second place. The Italian was given a 0.3 penalty to be added to his time at the end of the race.
Rossi slowly but surely caught up to Pedrosa in the last few laps of the race and passed him for second place. Rossi made a hard charge the last lap, and was able to open up about a two second gap. His penalty didn’t even matter because he was far enough in front of Pedrosa, so the time difference wouldn’t have mattered.
Now I believe that Rossi should not have been given that penalty. Zarco really didn’t have enough room to make the pass. “I want to speak with the guys in Race Direction, because I had no choice [but to cut the track],” said Rossi. The two racers would’ve crashed if it weren’t for Rossi picking up his bike. Even Marquez said that giving Rossi a penalty was pointless because he didn’t gain any advantages. The championship is heating up and I’m looking forward to the next race.