Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MotoGP: Pedrosa Pounces, Stoner Stunned

When the MotoGP circus rolls into Valencia, most fans snuggle up in front of the TV with a mug of cocoa and a teddy bear, prepared for a nice refreshing snooze. Two riders ruined the ritual this time: Casey Stoner and Ben Spies.

Stoner caused eyes to pop out on stalks across the world. Heading off the grid for the warm-up lap, the Aussie failed to make it to his pole position slot. After two corners he was caught out by the cold rear tyre and flung over the high side, the Ducati tumbling to a halt next to him. Casey has crashed in races before, but this seems to be the first time he has crashed before the race even started. On the plus side, it was pretty funny. On the downside, it has used up Valencia's allocation of interesting things for the next decade.

Dani Pedrosa had qualified 2nd, and was caught by surprise when the starting lights came on with no sign of Stoner. The miniature matador revealed that he had to start with his visor still up as he had been casually waiting for the pole sitter to appear alongside. Of course, that didn't stop the small star from taking the hole shot and disappearing into the distance on his Repsol Honda, unchallenged until the chequered flag.

Jorge Lorenzo was running in 2nd until he had a bizarre incident of his own. He got his FIAT Yamaha into a massive tank-slapper, which was so terrifying that the airbag in his leathers went off. (It puffs up around the neck area and is designed mainly to prevent broken collar bones.) With Lorenzo highly puckered after that scary moment, and hindered by his leathers turning into a sumo suit, his rival and team-mate Valentino Rossi sneaked past into 2nd. Jorge speeded back up a bit when the leathers deflated themselves, but had to settle for 3rd on a track that he has never won at in any category.

Colin Edwards was pootling round in his usual "best of the rest" style on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, in 4th place instead of his usual 5th as one of the four "aliens" had crashed on the warm-up lap. The Texas Tornado had to score plenty more points than Andrea Dovizioso if he was to steal 4th place in the championship. However, Dovi was in 7th place on the second Repsol Honda machine, which was enough to nick the championship position from Edwards.

That was until Ben Spies started charging through the field. He was supposedly using the race as a test before his transfer to Tech 3 Yamaha, and was running Yamaha's test team bike with the Sterilgarda colours from his title-winning World Superbike. Sure enough, Benny Elbowz started off gently, but got quicker and quicker as the race went on, starting to overtake people on a track where there is little overtaking, in a race series where there is little overtaking. With growing astonishment, the crowd saw Spies rise to 8th place, and finally pass Dovizioso for 7th.

This overtake guaranteed 5th place in the championship to his fellow Texan, and team-mate next year at "Tex 2" Tech 3 Yamaha, Colin Edwards, who danced for joy and hugged Spies when the race was over.

So it was a relative snoozefest as usual, since the Valencia track is just too small and nadgery for MotoGP bikes, being a more exciting track for the baby categories. However, it will be remembered for two reasons: the coming of Ben Spies, and the going of Casey Stoner.


Mikke said...

Valentino Rossi is the best!!!

Jimmy said...

No arguing with that!

Anonymous said...

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valentino the best!
his father too!