MotoGP Summer Break: The Winners and Losers of 2019 so far

by Joshua Close
Alex Rins is one of the winners in MotoGP 2019

The MotoGP paddock is currently on holiday. A well deserved holiday at that! It’s been another exhilarating season so far, one full of excitement, surprises and controversy.

Marc Marquez leads the way again, however several other riders have impressed and surprised us. Of course, at the same time, others have failed to deliver and are now under pressure.

Today, members of The Checkered Flag’s motorcycle team share their winners and losers of the 2019 MotoGP season so far.

MotoGP Winners

Josh Close – Fabio Quartarao

Marquez leading the way is no surprise. He’s expected to win the championship, therefore he’s not my biggest winner of the season so far. Instead, that title goes Fabio Quartararo.

The young Frenchman continues to impress in this, his first-ever MotoGP campaign. From the moment he stepped on the Petronas Yamaha in the winter, he has been fast. Very fast.

From the first nine races he has three pole positions and two podiums. He became the youngest polesitter in MotoGP history at the Spanish Grand Prix. Then, he became the youngest rider to secure consecutive pole positions in MotoGP history.

Also, he completed 4200 miles before falling off a MotoGP bike. This is an unbelievable achievement. The best part? Some people had written him off following his lack of success in the lower classes. He’s now reminding them of the extraordinary talent he possesses.

Nat Jarvis – Marc Marquez

It’s a tough choice really, you’ve got Marquez who has made an incredible amount of points in just three races. But on the other hand you’ve got Quartararo, who has been outstanding since he jumped onto a MotoGP bike.

Ultimately, I have to say Marquez, the Repsol Honda man is well on his way to becoming the best ever.

Robert Jones – Alex Rins

Alex Rins has been in stellar form for Suzuki in 2019. His victory at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is the highlight of the year for the 23-year-old. 

Rins has also had six top five finishes in the first nine races. This is an astonishing accomplishment given it’s only his third season in the top class.

The Spanish rider has become a perennial challenger for podium finishes, and currently sits fourth in the championship standings. Rins will have plenty more opportunities in the second half of the year to cement his rapid rise to the top, starting with Brno

Adnan El-Farzazi – Marc Marquez

The biggest winner has to be Marquez, need I say more! The seven-time world champion needs no introduction, he has been fantastic.

The Repsol Honda rider has collected first and second place podiums consistently and, with one DNF, he leads the standings by 58 points. Consistent and Amazing.

MotoGP 2019 Winners & Losers - Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco has struggled since his move to KTM (Credit: KTM Factory Racing

MotoGP Losers

Josh – Andrea Iannone

This is a tough decision to make given that many big names are struggling in 2019. Valentino Rossi has endured four tough races on the bounce, however he started the season really well. Jorge Lorenzo is injured again, has struggled to adapt to the Honda, and took three top riders out in Barcelona. However, I have to give him credit for having the guts to move to yet another manufacturer.

I’m going to say that the biggest loser of 2019 so far is Andrea Iannone. After being replaced at Suzuki, Aprilia became the Italian’s only option. Sure, it’s not the quickest or easiest to ride, but he should be performing better than he is.

It all began with Iannone missing part of the Sepang Test after reportedly having plastic surgery. He has qualified on the final-row on four occasions, and missed the Spanish Grand Prix through injury.

He has showed signs of improvement in Barcelona and Assen, finishing 10th in Holland. However, if he doesn’t carry on these improvements he could find himself out of the paddock completely.

Nat – Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi. I don’t think anyone knows what The Doctor has to do to buy luck at the moment. He started relatively well but since we’ve returned to Europe it’s been nothing but a struggle.

I feel like Mugello was the real start of the downfall for this season, a circuit he loves so so dearly and has had pole twice in the last three years.

Catalunya was a day of hope and it’s important for us not to forget he was forecast to have great race pace. But the hardest one to watch was Assen, another circuit which he loves so dearly.

I think we have a lot to look forward to in the second half of the season, even if it looks like Marquez has one hand on the championship.

Robert – Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco has endured a torrid year at KTM so far since his move from Tech 3 Yamaha. As a result, he has looked a deflated figure.

Zarco’s best finish of the year was 10th in Barcelona, and he has been outperformed on a regular basis by team-mate Pol Espargaro

The Frenchman was a regular front runner at Yamaha, but has looked a shell of the former two-time Moto2 champion we have come to know. It will be important for Zarco and the team to work well together in the second half of the year, with confidence and feel for the bike seemingly a big issue. 

Adnan – Johann Zarco

The biggest loser of the season so far has to be Zarco. He’s a double world champion thanks to back-to-back Moto2 titles, and was consistently inside the top 10 with Tech 3. He even secured six podiums on the Yamaha.

However, the 2017 ‘Rookie of the Year’ is languishing in the doldrums at the the lower end of the standings. To be exact, he’s 17th with a meager 16 points to his name.

Personally, I am of the opinion that he won’t be on the KTM for long if results stay as they are. It’s not because there is a lack of talent, but sometimes things just don’t work out.

Missed some of the action? Check out the biggest stories of the 2019 season so far.

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