Monday, July 21, 2008

MotoGP: Rossi Stuns Stoner at Laguna

Valentino Rossi beat Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in a MotoGP race that must be one of the greatest races of all time.

The temperatures at the Californian track were hot and sunny, but not as much as Michelin had anticipated, making this very much a Bridgestone tyre demonstration. Casey Stoner had been fastest in every practise session, qualifying and the warm-up. The question on everybody's lips was how far Stoner could win by, with a repeat of last year's Laguna snoozefest seemingly inevitable. Instead, Valentino Rossi treated us to a dazzling display of the qualities that have won him 7 world championships.

When the lights went out, it was unsurprisingly Stoner who took the lead into the first corner. However, to everyone's amazement, Valentino Rossi slammed his FIAT Yamaha past Stoner's Marlboro Ducati just moments later. Behind them, Jorge Lorenzo broke a foot in a monstrous highside that was a virtual replay of his crash in China. How can a former 250GP world champion have such rubbish throttle control? In most races, Lorenzo's crash would have been the main talking point, but it was quickly forgotten as the battle for the lead turned into a knife fight.

The next few laps are going to send the Youtube servers into meltdown as they are viewed by millions of disbelieving fans. The fight for the lead turned this race into an instant legend. Stoner used the Ducati's power to blast past Rossi's Yamaha on the start-finish straight, but Rossi re-passed on the brakes. Stoner fought back, and the lead swapped again and again. Rossi passed Stoner into the Corkscrew, but ran so wide that he ran off the edge of the kerb and onto the dirt, nearly slamming into Stoner who was overtaking around the outside. Even with fur and feathers flying, the pair were lapping nearly a second faster than anyone else on track...

Read the rest of the review of the incredible Laguna Seca victory for Valentino Rossi at, where my reviews of this week's bike racing action are appearing. It's a site with news, reviews, forums and all the great galleries you'd expect from a site run by a pro photographer.


Nicebloke said...

Sunny? Yes. Hot? Definitely not. I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt all day. The clouds only started to disperse around 12:30pm, and by 2:30, half an hour into the race, they had started to come back. Although the weather looked picture perfect on the TV, it was quite a different story at the track. No wonder Michelin were so very wrong.

Jimmy said...

Thanks, Nicebloke. Always good to get a first hand report from somebody on the ground. I got the impression that Michelin assumed it would be blisteringly hot rather than just hot, anyway.

Anyway, I bet it was still hot by Scottish standards!

Rob J Jones said...

Hot by Scottish standards = over 10 degrees.

Jimmy said...

You're right. When the temperature dips below 10 degrees I think "Hmmm... Maybe I should wear a coat."