Sunday, July 06, 2008

MotoGP Report Card 2008 Part 2

Okey dokey, now we have covered the top riders in the mid-season MotoGP report card, it's time to sharpen the claws and dissect the lower ranks of the championship table in as bitchy a manner as possible. (Hey, if they didn't want to be slagged off, they shouldn't have gone on holiday for 3 weeks). Who will win the coveted dunce's cap? Let's find out.

Loris Capirossi (51 points)
Grade: C
Little Loris has done kind of OK, I suppose. Missing the last 2 races due to injury has left him lower in the table than you'd expect (he would probably be above Vermeulen otherwise), but he hasn't set the tarmac alight in the way that the Delorean from Back to the Future did. He's still reasonably quick and up for a battle, and not as past it as his performances for Ducati last year might suggest. Still needs to work hard to retain his seat.

Toni Elias (33 points)
Grade: D
The little Spaniard is a complete psycho, who thinks that braking on wet kerbs is not only clever, but the fastest way around a track, and has a MotoGP race victory to prove it. However, it has been a nightmare 12 months for Toni since he shattered his leg at Assen last year. He has been very, very slow on the D'Antin Ducati. Luckily for him, he usually isn't the slowest Bologna Bullet rider on the track. Pretty unimpressive, though.

Marco Melandri (32 points)
Grade: F
Now we find the guy standing in the corner, wearing a pointy hat with a large letter "D" printed on the front. Dunce, idiot, loser, call him what you will. Nobody's calling him Macho any more. The hapless Italian is downright terrified of the Bologna Bullet. To be on a full fat Ducati and be 110 points down on your team-mate mid-season is unforgivable. (Stoner is out-scoring him by more than 4 points to 1.) What the hell is he still doing on that bike? The latest reports are that he'll be there until Brno for contractual reasons, after which he'll have a stylish Italian footprint on his stylish Italian backside. It's beyond a joke. He isn't just slow on the bike, he's 3 seconds slower than Casey. Stop complaining and get with the program, Marco. You're better than this.

John Hopkins (32 points)
Grade: B-
The Kwaka ain't much of a bike this year. In fact, it's a green pile of scrap with a couple of wheels nailed onto it. Unfortunately the chain isn't nailed on quite as tightly, and a number of mechanical failures have left Hopkins lower down the table than he should be. Added to that, Hopper has been another guy to get injured. It's just not his year. But that's what you get when you choose bank balance over bike balance. You've reaped what you've sown, Johnny Boy, and now you're too badly hurt to develop the bike, so things probably won't get much better until next year. Still, I've gotta give you points for trying, Dude.

Alex de Angelis (25 points)
Grade: C
The rider from San Marino is a rookie this year, having previously been famous for constantly bottling it and finishing 2nd in the 250GP class. He has had a couple of good showings, but has mostly spent the year hurling monstrously expensive prototype motorcycles into gravel traps. It has got to the point where the team has been openly criticizing him for his crashes. Settle down, sonny.

Sylvain Guintoli (24 points)
Grade: C-
The Frenchman's lowly championship standing doesn't reflect the fact that in the last few races he has been slowly getting to grips with the Ducati, and finishing ahead of his loony Spanish team-mate. If he keeps this up, he might actually start to look half decent. Showing some promise, and should be aiming for top ten finishes at every race.

Randy de Puniet (22 points)
Grade: D+
It's amazing that Randy is behind Sylvain in the championship, considering that he is on a Honda and his compatriot is on the unrideable-unless-you're-Stoner Ducati. Unfortunately, de Puniet has kept up his old game of showing blistering pace occasionally, and rolling through the gravel trap next to his cartwheeling bike the rest of the time. Pretty rubbish showing for somebody with so much natural talent.

Anthony West (16 points)
Grade: E
Saved from being the world's most rubbish MotoGP rider by the fact that he's on a worse bike than Melandri. Where did it all go wrong for the Aussie? Some say the problem is that Kawasaki team leader Hopkins is a European-style high corner speed front-pusher, while Westy is from the Aussie/Yank school of "steer with the rear". This means that a bike designed for Hopper is virtually unrideable for Ant. (Arguably similar to Nicky Hayden's plight, and the opposite of Melandri's.) But that might just be an excuse dreamt up by his kidney-flogging fanbase. Was brilliant in the wet practise session at Donington, but back to normal in the dry. Falls off too much as well. At least Marco takes a lot of the heat away from him!

There you have it. The winner of the dunce's cap is Marco Melandri, but Ant West wins the runner-up prize of a Kurtis Roberts T-shirt. It'll be interesting to see if the championship table has shuffled itself much by the end of the season.

1 comment:

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Erick O.