Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WSBK Valencia Musings

There was some breath-taking racing in the recent WSBK round at Valencia. Here are a few musings on the subject.
Ruben Xaus, or Ruben Chaos if you prefer, showed us that he still has it. He was both impressive and terrifying, slamming his bike through gaps that didn't seem to be there en route to winning race one. It was a perfect performance in front of his home fans, and a thoroughly deserved victory. Of course, it was topped off by an overexcited marshal stalling the bike when Ruben was busy lighting the traditional Valencian fireworks, which would be known as explosives in every other country except China. Who else but Xaus would you expect to see riding round to the podium, holding onto the course car for a tow and chatting animatedly with the officials inside it?
Nori Haga was on the same blazing form that won him a race at Donington, and was unlucky not to end up with another win. It's great to see Nori racing at such a tight, twisty track where he can really get in close and frighten his opponents. In the last few races he seems to have been more at ease with the new Yamaha on its Pirelli tyres, unlike his team-mate Troy Corser, who has had a bit of a torrid time with tyres and minor mechanical faults.
James Toseland recovered well from an unbalanced tyre in race one to win race two, his first good result ever at this track. He too is a close fighter, and used one or two forceful moves on the way to victory. His lead in the championship was extended slightly to 13 points.
Max Biaggi had an atrocious qualifying session, seemingly scared witless of the front tyre. However, after a mediocre race one, the Roman Emperor somehow rejuvinated himself for race two for an amazing 2nd place, from 12th on the grid. This included a typical Max style overtaking of Haga. It takes a very forceful racer to make Nitro Nori sit up and run wide. Max was clearly delighted with his performance, and is a new man after escaping the goldfish bowl of MotoGP. He is still well in contention for the title, just 13 points behind Toseland.
Finally, a word for Troy Bayliss. The Aussie was riding injured, wearing a cricket box to protect his goolies. (Apparently the team had a lot of trouble finding a cricket box in Valencia, with the Spanish not exactly renowned for the smack of leather on willow.) Troy rode well, salvaging a lot of points despite walking funny. Hard as nails, that lad.

No comments: