Monday, March 31, 2008

MotoGP Jerez: Pedrosa Perfect, Stoner Sinks

The Jerez round of the 2008 MotoGP Championship brought us a breathtaking display of miniature dominance by Dani Pedrosa. (That says dominance, not dominatrix. We don't talk about Max Mosley round here.) However, all those idiots who claimed Stoner would find a way to finish on the podium (me for example) were proved to be as bird-brained as the kind of ageing motorsports dictator who gets filmed by a scumbag tabloid visiting a dominatrix. (Oops.)

Pole position had been taken by big-headed rookie Jorge Lorenzo. When I say "taken", I'm talking "Berlin was taken by the Red Army", not "King's pawn was taken by rook". The cocky Spaniard destroyed such nobodies as Rossi and Pedrosa to the tune of six tenths of a second! I think this kid might just have what it takes to be a MotoGP rider, you know? The other hero of qualifying was Colin Edwards, who produced one of the best saves I've ever seen. He lost the front, lowsided and was sliding off the track when he somehow picked the bike up with his knee and elbow, plonked the bike back on its tyres and rode off. After that, he even had the chutzpah to turn to the crowd and wave to accept their cheers. Brilliant stuff from the Texas Tornado, but unfortunately it used up 8 of his 9 lives for the weekend.

In the race, Dani Pedrosa basically got out in front and disappeared into the distance, showing that he's a genius, even if he gives boring interviews and bitches about his team-mate too much. I love watching Dani on the ragged edge, hanging off the bike, his left foot coming off the peg. You can see that the little impresario is wringing the bike's neck. For some reason it wasn't as boring as when Stoner does the same, even though the director didn't cut to Adriana in the pits so often. Nobody got anywhere near the teeniest bloke in the paddock until he parked the bike in parc ferme.

Valentino Rossi reminded us that he's one of the greatest riders of all time by taking second place on Bridgestone tyres. Apparently Vale doesn't even have custom tyres yet, as he and Jeremy Burgess are still working out how to set up a bike on Bridgestone rubber. I think that might change next time out. The other Bridgestone runners should be afraid. OK, this is one of Rossi's best tracks, but he still finished nearly 25 seconds ahead of the next Bridgestone-shod bike. The only problem Valentino had was an inability to count to 27, as he thought the race was over on lap 26. I know how he feels. Even if I take my shoes and socks off I can only count to 24...

Lorenzo couldn't quite replicate his qually peformance, but hung onto Rossi to take an excellent 3rd place. He even managed a great save when he had a simultaneous tank slapper and wheelie that shook his right foot off the peg. 2 races in MotoGP, 2 pole positions, 2 podiums. Yamaha can't half pick 'em, eh? Spain's excellent King Juan Carlos proved once again that he's a cut above Prince Harry by forcing arch enemies Pedrosa and Lorenzo to shake hands on the way to the podium. His Majesty then indulged in animated conversation with Valentino. Top bloke.

Nicky Hayden had a decent run in 4th. He looked like he might just grab 3rd, or 2nd at a push, but then he did an Edwards in turn 1. Nearly falling off the lowside, he lifted the bike back up on his knee, maybe using a bit of elbow too, and continued on his way. That's how they do it in the South, y'all.

Loris Capirossi showed that he's still a little psycho to take 5th on the last corner, fractions in front of James Toseland, John Hopkins and Andrea Dovizioso. I'm a big Capirossi fan, so it was great to see him back on form, never afraid to bang fairings with the other guys. Last year looked like a disaster for Little Loris, but with hindsight he was a hell of a lot closer to Stoner than any of this year's Ducati guys. I mean, can you see Melandri winning a race this year?

James Toseland was half-dead from bronchitis, looking and sounding truly atrocious. The Englishman had used a few of his trademark WSBK moves to get up the field, seriously pissing off Dovi. The youngster lunged in the last corner, Toseland was pushed wide but cut inside to beat Dovizioso, and during all the excitement Capirex chucked it down the inside of everyone, taking 2 places in one corner. By the time Dovi returned from the car park, Hopper had flung the Kwaka through the gap too. Excellent, dude.

Casey Stoner? Who? Oh right, the guy in 11th. The reigning World Champ was much closer to the front. Twice. However, the Ducati was completely unrideable. Yeah, I know it's always completely unrideable, but this time even Casey couldn't keep it on the black stuff. Early on he was doing brilliantly when it nearly fired him off, losing him places. Then he fought his way up only for it to run off into the gravel. Once more, he fought back and looked like he might finish as high as 5th when the bike once more lost the front and he ended up ploughing through the kitty litter for a second time. Can't fault him for lack of effort, but it was his worst ever race on the Bologna Bullet.

Marco Melandri finished just 2.2 seconds behind Stoner. Normally that would be great but this time was rubbish, considering that Casey had been off twice and the only way the Aussie would know what the racing line looked like would be if Pedrosa had sent him a postcard. Alas poor Marco! I knew him, Horatio. The Italian should probably call in the forensics experts from CSI Miami to find out who murdered his career. (Hint, he's short, cocky and has a number 1 on the front of his motorcycle.)

What ever happened to Colin Edwards, with his qualifying on the front row and his great save? He fell off. For some reason, he's nailed qualifying at last, but can't race to save himself. Ah well, you can't win 'em all. Or any of 'em, in Colin's case.

All in all, a great race. This year's championship looks like a corker. Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner are turning this into a golden era, the likes of which we haven't seen since the early 1990's. Dani is as brilliant as ever, Rossi is still a genius, Lorenzo is stunningly quick. Toseland's a brilliant addition to the series with his ability to slam opponents out of the way without actually endangering them. He'll be one to watch when he gets the air-sprung engine soon. Casey Stoner had a horrible day that he'll want to forget. Well, at least it wasn't him who got caught spanking prostitutes dressed as concentration camp prisoners by the "News of the Screws".


Nicebloke said...

Yes, finally a thoroughly enjoyable MotoGP race. It's been a while, hasn't it?

Jimmy said...

Yep, and about time too. Toseland looks like spicing things up when anybody's daft enough to be riding next to him.

Alessandro Matteucci aka Alex 555 said...

Jimmy, I just love to read your post race comments! I am curious to know what it will happen to the audacious old man for his sexual-theatrical play. We have recently lost our NY governor for a similar secret hobby.
As far as MotoGp it's still very difficult to speculate who will lead the championship down the road.

Alessandro Matteucci aka Alex 555 said...

Jimmy what do you think about Michael Schumacher recent motorbike races? Regardless of his great results he looks very stiff so I am wondering how much potential he has got. Also for someone that sufferend only once an injury in his long career, I question how he would react once he starts hitting the ground. It's always easier to leave motorbikes for cars than vice versa

Jimmy said...

I don't think Schumacher will race bikes professionally. He doesn't need the trouble. I think he's just doing it for fun. Anyway, he had a go on the Ducati at Valencia at the end of last year and was 5 seconds off the pace, which is more like 10 seconds off the pace at a proper track.

I reckon the F1 dictator might stay in his job, he's just so staggeringly arrogant he can't see that he's done anything wrong!