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MotoGP and Isle of Man TT: June Ramblings

Image source: MotoGP

With the postponement of the Kazakhstan round of the 2024 MotoGP Championship to September, we’ve had an interminable wait in June until the Dutch TT at the end of the month, with very little to write about in terms of on-track action, although it will come as no surprise that there has been plenty of behind-the-scenes intrigue and announcements.

It came as no surprise that Marc Marquez was announced as Francesco Bagnaia’s teammate at the factory Ducati team, as seismic as that announcement was. With Jorge Martin heading to Aprilia for 2025, that left the door open for Marquez, who was always in the running.

Image source: MotoGP

With the ink barely dry on that contract, the next bombshell was the news that Maverick Viñales had signed for the Tech3 GasGas team (rumours have it that it will be branded KTM for 2025, boss Pit Beirer intimating that KTM is the preferred brand name to have on the entry and timing sheets), with Enea Bastiannini taking the seat next to him, leaving Jack Miller out in the cold.

Image source: MotoGP

Now we get into the field of rumour and conjecture. Could Jack Miller go to Honda, in place of Joan Mir? If the latest rumour to do the rounds is correct, however, Mir might have agreed to stay at Honda for a further two years, despite the terrible start to the season that both factory Honda riders have experienced, closing that particular door to Miller.

Augusto Fernandez is also out of contract with Tech3 GasGas at the end of 2024, while Alex Rins also has no home to go to in 2025 as yet.

Image source: GASGAS Tech 3

Ducati has to find a place for Fermin Aldeguer, which might be possible at Pramac if that team chooses to stay with Ducati and not move to Yamaha, a deal that is reportedly still on the table. A decision has to be made soon. Also, if Pramac does change to Yamaha, will the team retain Franco Morbidelli?

As much has been decided, there is still a lot to be finalised. One thing is for certain according to Jorge Lorenzo; we are set for a new golden era of MotoGP racing, with Marc Marquez on a championship-winning bike and Pedro Acosta on the factory KTM. All we need now is BMW to commit for 2027-onwards and Suzuki to make a comeback, although that latter idea is probably far-fetched.

Image source: MotoGP

In the meantime, there is a championship to be won or lost and it is simply too close to call. Let’s hope we have another last lap of the last race conclusion, no matter which way it goes.

Isle of Man TT 2024

The beginning of June brought us the unbridled joy of the Isle of Man TT races, which went some way to make up for the dearth of MotoGP racing this month. And what a TT it was.

Image source: IOM

Records in racing are there to be broken and they often are, with very few records standing for longer than two or three years, and often for appreciably less. To find a record that has stood for 24 years is rare and yet, that is how long the record for most TT wins has stood.

As anyone will know, the record had been in the hands of Joey Dunlop since his hat-trick of victories in 2000, bringing his tally to 26, mere months before his untimely death at a race in Estonia.

Image source: The Independent

For a long time, it looked as if John McGuinness was the rider most likely to break or, at least, match the record but, having got to 23 wins, his progress stalled.

For the past several years, the men to beat at the TT have been another Dunlop, Joey’s nephew Michael, the last of the Dunlop racing clan (for now, at least), and Peter Hickman, the latter setting the outright lap record and who was on course to break that record in this year’s Senior TT, only to crash – thankfully without injury – halfway through that race.

Image source: IOM

If Michael Dunlop also failed to complete the Senior TT, retiring early in the race, that could do nothing to alter the fact that he is now on an incredible 29 wins at the TT, comfortably breaking his uncle’s record and there are few who would bet against that tally being added to in the coming years.

Whilst it is sad to see Joey’s record being broken, there is a lovely symmetry to it being broken by another Dunlop. Michael himself will publicly claim that the record was never on his radar but that assertion has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It obviously was on his mind, even if he never thought he might equal, never mind beat, his uncle’s record. Personally, I’m a huge McGuinness fan, but it feels right that Michael has become the new benchmark.

Image source: IOM

Thankfully, 2024 will go down in the history books as another TT with no fatalities; as far as I can work out, only the third time in the TT’s history. What this serves to emphasise is the fact that there are always many crashes on the Mountain Course, with only a small percentage that are fatal but, predictably, the media only ever concentrates on the deaths. What will they have written about this year with nothing ghoulish to report?

I have written at length about the TT before in these pages, Isle Of Man TT 2023, so there is no point repeating it again, except to say, Long Live The TT, and all the mad geniuses who choose to race there. They deserve to be regarded as our heroes.

Image source: IOM
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....