Monday, September 07, 2009

MotoGP: Donkey Business as Usual at Misano

Valentino Rossi stopped calling himself The Doctor and started calling himself The Donkey after his silly crash at Indianapolis. He made up for it at Misano, though. His crash hat had a cartoon of a donkey on the top, and at the back were the words "The Donkey" in the same colours and font as his usual "The Doctor".

At the start of the race, he waited a while for everything to settle down, then overtook everyone and disappeared into the distance. His downbeat team-mate Horhay Lorenzo was behind him, with diminutive Dani Pedrosa trundling in 3rd.

Rossi's mechanics met him in parc ferme wearing enormous pairs of donkey ears, and Vale wore a pair on the podium too. It's incredible that he is still coming up with chuckleworthy celebrations, but as an 8-time world champion with number 9 on the way, he's a bit special.

The relative dullness of the race was partly down to the dimwitted actions of local hero, Alex "300 Game" de Angelis. The San Marinese, rainbow-painted yokel showed that bowling isn't just for Americans.

He did this by bowling for Americans, and it was a perfect 300 game as there were no Yanks left when he was finished.

It happened in the first chicaney, flippy-floppy corners, less than 10 seconds into the race. De Angelis braked stupidly late, bumped Colin Edwards, who bumped Nicky Hayden. The two Southerners went down along with de Angelis, and someone tagged Jorge Lorenzo, who managed to stay aboard his Yamaha.

There was a hilarious altercation in the gravel trap, with Nicky Hayden blowing his cool and trying to shake some sense into the miscreant while Colin just raised his eyes to the heavens in despair.

It was disastrous for both the Kentuckian and the Texan. Nicky is just starting to look good on the Bologna Bullet, taking a podium at his home race and being the first 800cc number 2 rider ever to get re-signed by Ducati with his career intact. Colin Edwards has had a surprisingly great year, being top satellite team rider and breathing down the neck of factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso in the points table. The likeable, plain-talking Texan has barely had to dip into his big book of excuses at all.

Still, Nicky has inked a Ducati contract for another year so it's not too bad. Colin seemed to be on his way out of Tech 3 Yamaha, but with Benny Elbowz being re-signed by Yamaha for the WSBK campaign, everyone now says that Colin will be staying at Tech 3. That's great news for him, and rubbish news for his hapless team-mate James Toseland, who has been crushed into the dirt by the Texas Tornado this year. It looks like the only thing about Tech 3 that Toseland has to concern himself with is not letting Herve Poncharal's motorhome door hit him in the arse on the way out.

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