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MotoGP: Season starts with great promise

Bryan Edwards

MotoGP has, in recent years, had flashes of brilliance but periods of extreme dullness. If the first race of 2019, Qatar, is any guide, that's not going to be the case this season. And there's interest in the lower formulae, too.

Moto3 is a bit of a puzzle: there is such incredible racing but it just doesn't seem very interesting on big tracks designed to cope with the power of a full-blown MotoGP bike. There are some forms of racing that just don't translate to a great experience either at the track or on screen (the old DTM being a prime example although for entirely different reasons to those afflicting Moto3.

But for the first race, at least, there was one huge event: it's the first Moto3 / 125 / lightweight race ever won by a Japanese rider. Kaito Toba surprised everyone with a front row start and while those around him fell back into the field, Toba kept up at the pointy end. For the first time this season, the new "penalty loop" was used. Fenati received a warning for exceeding track limits: but he had misunderstood the message on his dashboard and a warning was misread as an instruction. It cost him 1.5 seconds and cost him seven places in a tightly packed field with just three laps to go. But it wa Toba's quiet move out of the slipstream from second to win at the line - against another Honda. Not too boring after all: maybe the races should be held as two five lap sprints.

Watch the last lap at MotoGP.com: http://www.motogp.com/en/video...

Moto2 has a huge change for this year: every bike is powered by a new engine. The second formula was, until not to long ago, the 250 class. When new specs were introduced in 2010, the landscape changed entirely: no matter what it said on the entry, the engines would be Honda and based on the CBR600RR. It's proved a very successful approach. But after nine seasons, the organisers decided to seek alternatives and, much to the surprise of many, the choice was the UK's Triumph using a version of its 765cc inline three cylinder. the contract is for three years and the engines, at present, are developing only a fraction more horsepower than the Honda after all of its development. The Triumph delivers 138. Is that much? Well, it is twice that of many small family cars. The Triumph engine is a development of a development of an already excellent powerpack: that fitted to the Daytona Supersports 765, via the Street Triple RS. The Street Triple gives just over 120bhp.

There is just something special about a big British bike engine at full chat. Multiply, nay amplify that by 33 and the run to the first corner was .. think of a superlative and double it. Then it all came unstuck.

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