Keep Calm and Race On: 10 Reasons Why The Jerez MotoGP Rocked.

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Let me get this out of the way: If you missed this race then you should bitch-slap yourself. Repeatedly.

Spain is a country that is absolutely loco over bike racing, and I’m pleased to report that the riders did not disappoint the faithful apostles that trekked to Jerez and dutifully donned their raincoats for the drizzly race:

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THAT Rossi-Stoner on-track tussle: The moment that racing fans will discuss, analyze, and fight over for the next four weeks. In typical Rossi fashion, he attempted to overtake Stoner on turn 1, but forgetting that he’s not riding a reliable Yamaha anymore but a temperamental Ducati, lost the front and took Stoner down with him in a tangled heap. Both riders had the agility and presence of mind to get back on their bikes to rejoin the race, but the marshals seemed to have given more assistance to Rossi (as proven by the 2nd photo) which cost Stoner precious time and eventually, the race. Small wonder that the gregarious Aussie was pissed.

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Marco Simoncelli’s jaw-dropping pass on Casey Stoner to take the race lead, and his surprising crash/retirement: The afro-haired Italian was most certainly the surprise package of the race. I was too busy keeping my eye on Stoner and Lorenzo’s cat-and-mouse chase that I’ve only noticed Simoncelli’s amazing charge when he boldly overtook Stoner’s dominant factory Honda for the lead, much to the astonishment of practically everyone bar his mother. Shame his amazing charge was halted by his crash. Post-race, Simoncelli also bemoaned the lack of assistance by track marshals. What does a rider have to do to get help, change their name to Valentino Rossi?

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The Battle for 2nd between Dani Pedrosa and Ben Spies: They are my top 2 favorite riders in MotoGP, and when things started to heat up between the two on-track, I fought the urge to bite all my nails and almost had one eye closed throughout the tussle. I know both riders are generally “decent” and will not maliciously attack the opponent, but with a damp track and adrenaline coursing through their veins, anything can happen. Spies eventually got the better of Pedrosa and stole 2nd, but mysteriously crashed out a few minutes later which gifted the struggling wee Spaniard the 2nd spot.

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Rain–the Great Equalizer: No question about it, the rain dictated the tempo of the race and wrecked havoc with some of the riders’ fates. After Championship leader Stoner retired, race leader Simoncelli followed, then Randy de Puniet, and then Spies, and then Colin Edwards, who was poised to take the last podium position, bit the dust. Tough luck, mate.

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Dani Pedrosa doing a wheelie as he crossed the Finish Line: Seeing the likes of Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner performing the wheelie to celebrate victories is hardly surprising, but Pedrosa has always been unusually reserved when it comes to celebrations, so seeing him loosen up in front of his home fans was certainly a pleasant surprise. Must have been a massive relief for him to survive that crazy race!

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Post-race: Local hombre and race winner Jorge Lorenzo being labeled as Australian by one TV network. Um, que?! Geography fail. Either that or the tech dude is one big Casey Stoner fan. No wonder Jorge looked confused in the photo.

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Who’s That Dude with the Hombres? If you’ve told me last Friday that Nicky Hayden of Ducati will share the podium with Lorenzo and Pedrosa come raceday, I would have shamelessly laughed in your face, paused to take a breath, and then laughed madly again. However, the gritty American proved that the Ducati can be tamed and that he can calm down long enough to survive the onslaught of slides and crashes. I make fun of him a lot, but I’ll give him credit for this one–Well played, Haystack!

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The King and His Boys: King Juan Carlos of Spain is a massive bike racing fan, and he’s not afraid to flaunt it. His delight at having two Spaniards top the race was quite obvious, as he looked every inch like the proud father (or should that be grandfather?) while he fawned over Lorenzo and Pedrosa before and during the awarding ceremonies. Good thing the two hombres kept calm and raced on– now that’s what being obedient constituents are about! P.S. The boys also behaved themselves and shook hands willingly, no more need for the King’s intervention!

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Post-race: Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner’s face-to-face (or should that be helmet-to-face?) encounter about THAT crash: Apparently, Stoner was not visibly miffed with Rossi, but still managed to edge in the dig “Obviously your ambition outweighed your talent” after Valentino apologized. Meeooww! I want to take that words and put it into a t-shirt. Surely, that comment will live in infamy, Casey.

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Feast your eyes on seventy-five seconds of non-stop racing action from the weekend:

Sadly, we now we have to live with four weeks of MotoGP hiatus. Why must the racing gods be so cruel, at times?

Hurry back, MotoGP!

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