On the questionable postponement of the Grand Prix to Austria
When the Grand Prix of Finland was cancelled on May 14, 2021, Dorna named the corona pandemic as the reason. We had already asked ourselves at the time whether this was supposed to be a belated April Fool’s joke, but the gentlemen around MotoGP “Zampano” Carmelo Ezpeleta were completely serious. Now that the replacement race is taking place in Spielberg, which we are not currently reporting on out of protest, it is worth taking a critical look twice. The main reason for our boycott of this GP weekend was not the questionable justification for the race on the KymiRing, but the fact that a WorldSBK round is literally cannibalized for the second time after Misano. But while at the Estoril Superbike weekend, which was taking place at the same time, the time difference of one hour prevented a disaster for the fans, this time the replacement date for Finland ensures a complete collision.
Dorna slept through the collision between the two series until a few days before the first race
It is almost unbelievable that the Dorna apparently only noticed this a few days before the event in Most. One almost gets the impression that they did not even realize the conflict of dates when the new date for the Styrian GP was set. The original date for the Finnish Grand Prix would not have overlapped the two series. In any case, there was only a small modification for on Sunday, five days before the first race. By swapping the start time of the WorldSSP 300 with the WSBK, there is no overlap with the MotoGP race, at least for the second race on Sunday. Without this postponement, not a single race of the Superbike World Championship would have been broadcast live on TV by almost all broadcasters. To do this earlier, and also to ensure that at least the WorldSBK does not collide on Saturday, was apparently too much work for those responsible at the Spanish company. In addition to the fans of the near-series World Cup, the ones who suffered are drivers, teams and of course also sponsors due to the missed broadcasting time on TV.
The reason for the cancellation of the GP Finland – a bad joke
In the following comparison, be sure to note the scale on the left edge of the picture, where in Finland the work was done with jumps of 20 and in Austria with a spread of 100. The arrow points roughly to the moment when Dorna announced the cancellation of Finland and the announcement of the Styrian GP. At all times, including at all times in the previous weeks, the Alpine republic (below in the graph) had a 7-day incidence that was at least three times as high as the Scandinavian country. So on May 14, 2021, the day of the official announcement by the rights holder of MotoGP and WSBK Finland had a value below 30 and Austria was around 100. Both countries are in Europe and travel restrictions resulted against this background, especially in the Scandinavian country No sense at all, in contrast to the Alpine country, which was responsible for a Covid-19 scandal with Ischgl, the winter before last.
Why then two races in Styria?
At least it is clear that the official justification of the Dorna is absolutely baseless. You can hear this behind closed doors in the paddock since mid-May, when this nonsensical calendar change was published. Above all, it is not without good reason that the course in Spielberg has been criticized by many drivers. Ever since the terrible accidents of Zarco and Morbido in MotoGP, as well as Hafizh Syahrin in Moto2, everyone who looks at the pictures or video clips understands this. According to a persistent rumour in the paddock, the KymiRing is not finished yet and in its current condition would not even be homologated by the FIM. What speaks for this thesis is the fact that there are still no newer photos of the course even on the homepage of the Finnish track. The second reason could be that there is an allegedly close relationship between the controversial boss of Dorna and the owner of the Red Bull Ring, which is not surprising in view of the title sponsorship of the Soda and media group at some Grand Prix. Because, as is so often the case, it would be a question of money, it is also clear that, with no audience restrictions, in Spielberg a fat and significantly higher sum than Austria should be waving for Dorna instead of Finland. At least according to insiders, who of course do not want to be mentioned at this point.
The starting grid of all 3 classes for the Styria GP
At the home race of KTM, of all places, Saturday turned into a complete debacle for the team from Austria, despite the wildcard use of test driver Dani Pedrosa. Miguel Oliveira was the only one of the oranges to make it into Q2 with a lot of luck and only thanks to the cancellation of Bastianini’s best lap (he cited a “track shit limit” as a reason for this behind closed doors). But there is the Portuguese, who was hit after a previous highsider, was last and is only in row 4 for the first race. The same reason cost Fabio Quartararo a pole position, but the Frenchman is still in the front row. After a weak first day, the Ducati drivers in particular unpacked the hammer on Saturday and four of them are on the first two rows for the first race on August 8th.
The strange row 1 of Moto3 and the drama of a former MotoGP rider
The first row in Moto3 is funny because all three riders will start on absolutely identical, but supposedly different makes. Fortunately, there are no such confusing fraudulent labels in the WorldSBK and WSSP. What is written on the tank is correct there, and unfortunately, Jonas Folger doesn’t seem to have got off well. The engine of his BMW went up in smoke in the first run, which was not the first technical defect of the German make this season, while Yamaha and Kawasaki are still clean in this regard. Many fans of the German are now quite rightly convinced that Jonas would be much better off with a Yamaha after five laps. With only 8 points, Folger is far behind in 19th place in the world championship. It is almost unimaginable that this is only due to the driver who, in the previous year, still dominated the international national championship at will on a Yamaha YZF R1 in the IDM.