Thursday, September 28, 2006

What would you have done in Hayden's shoes?

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Last Friday Hayden has officially renewed the contract with Honda. There are rumors that he was contacted by Yamaha and Ducati too. Now, beside the amount of $ involved whit the different options, who would have you chosen as team among those listed? Keep in mind that in Honda he will ride with Pedrosa, in Yamaha would have been with Rossi, in Ducati with Capirossi, in Suzuki with Hopkins or Vermuellen and in Kawasaky …I do not know.

MotoGp Music: 2007 previews

At this point we should have a good idea of the new 800cc MotoGp bikes. Magazine, newspapers and internet have provided us with pictures, videos and interesting technical details. Now we know that they perform almost like the current ones and most likely the engine evolution during next winter will bring much more horse power on the wheels.
All of them seems much smaller, to the point that even minute riders like Pedrosa or Capirossi seem suddenly bigger. The handling is completely different: nimble, capable of carrying a lot of entrance-mid corner speed. The electronics in the slipper clutches, traction control system, fuel injection (most likely “imported” from F1) has virtually eliminated the risk of high siding at the exit of the turns. Now we see riders washing the front while trailbraking or losing the read by the apex, or between apexes in double turns.
The new bikes look very symilar to the old ones with the exception of the Honda. The almost inexistent and chopped tail coupled to the long boxed swingarm makes the rider to look like a jocky on a pony. But there must be something else “under the tank” because last Monday a crowd of people, and among them Capirossi, gathered in front to the Honda garage to see the new creature, RC212V. Only at the first race in 2007 we will see who have created the best motogp, and until then we will have to pick our favorite missile judging by the look and the music: my choice goes to the “Il pompone Ducati”.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Round 14: Grand Prix of Japan

Today at the Japanese MotoGp in Motegi they must have served spaghetti al dente instead of sushi because the Italians have cleaned the table: Capirossi first, Rossi second and Melandri third.
Nakano tried hard to grab the 4th place away from Gibernau, but at the last lap his front tire was clipped by the Ducati and so he crashed serving Hayden the 5th place on the silver plate.
The show was a bit boring with just a few changes in position during the whole race. The track has the typical stop an go layout with several slow turns connected by straights not long enough to use the wind draft to overtake the other rider. With a lack of fast long turns where to make the difference all the riders were forced to use the same line to maintain a good pace making even more difficult to attack on the brakes.
With only 12 points separating Hayden from Rossi and 2 races to go the World Championship is becoming breathtaking: next appointment in Portugal in three weeks.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Latest MotoGp Joke

My friend Almos Gyorffy, from 666 Cycle, has brought to my attention an article from the last issue of the American Motorcyclist Magazine. The title reads “ Close Comparison” and it’s followed by:” Since Nicky Hayden won at Laguna Seca last year, he and Valentino Rossi have had a similar level of success in MotoGP.”
The writer supports his claim by looking at the total accumulation of points earned by the two riders in the time frame: 340 for Rossi versus 315 for Hayden. The same writer and motorbike expert claims that both riders have achieved such result by “completely different routes”: Rossi winning 9 times to Hayden’s one, and the American with a more consistent performance than the Italian’s one.

At this point I have a question for the magazine writer: have you been following at all this year World Championship or not? Because if you did, you have obviously forgot that Rossi has suffered at least the following issues so far this year: in the first part of the season his M1 had a terrible chattering that forced the Japanese company to rebuild completely the frame of the bike; the first race crash caused by Elias; a faulty Michelin tire forced him out during a race; an defective engine stopped running another time when leading his competitors with a big gap; also for 2 races he wore a cast due to the broken wrist incurred in practice.
In addition I would like to remind this journalist the big crash caused by Gibernau that involved Capirossi, Melandri and Pedrosa. Gibernau stopped racing for most of the season while the other 3 riders where seriously affected in their performance for at least 2 races.
Hayden is a good rider, but he will make the podium only under very favorable circumstances. His Honda has proved to be a great, consistent bike with an engine capable to suddenly rejuvenate a “slow” Kenny Robert’s Junior after years of poor results.
In the recent years Rossi has been compared by different magazines around the world to Agostini so if we follow the suggestion of that magazine we could say that:

if Rossi = Agostini and Hayden=Rossi logic wants that Agostini=Hayden.

Are they kidding us? Was it a joke? Unfortunately no.

MotoGp Poll: A-Style Grand Prix of Japan

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With only three MotoGp races to the end of the World Championship it's time to challenge again our intuition. I have listed the first 7 riders in the championship as potential candidates to win Sunday race, but I am perfectly aware that the real battle is going to be among the first 5. Each of them needs a victory to consolidate, improve or reverse the present situation.
Scroll up and down to read the whole list and click on one of the choices. The poll will be immediately updated.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Sal

Our friend Sal Benanti AKA "The Old Man" this month turned 70. As I have already mentioned in a previous post Sal is a sort of living myth for all of us motorbike lovers. At his age he is still racing motocross every weekend during the season. It's something so sensational that Ace Motocross a couple of weeks ago has dedicated a racing weekend to the 70th birthday celebration of the "District's Oldest Active Rider". That weekend ACE has commemorated the event by giving award plaques to the racers with Sal's riding image on it. Also the organization has given to Sal a life time waive of all the racing fees!

Representing the whole Brooklyn motorbike crew I would like to wish to Sal many other decades of health and rejuvenating moto cross racing!


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Round 14: GMC Australian Grand Prix

Does anybody need to use the world famous Butt Past to sooth the Sunday after race rash? My guess is that this race left more than one rider dissatisfied. It could be Valentino that in the first leg of the race was hammering every body and had left Hayden in the no point dust zone area. Or the recently superfast Capirossi that somehow had a really grey performance last Sunday. Or what about Pedrosa that was lapped …,yes lapped, by more that one rider. Even Gibernau, whose great post injury performance, was shadowed by the diabolik Valentinik that passed him on the last turn grabbing the 3rd place after erasing the huge gap that was separating the two (Rossi two year ago jinxed the spaniard stating that Gibernau would never win any race as long as he races …and now even the 3rd has been forbiden!).

I do not want even to try to comment in detail the race in consideration that last Sunday the rain and the consequential change of the bikes have drammatically affected the whole show. Marco Melandri AKA Macho won under rain conditions with a fat gap over a fast Vermuellen, but I wonder where the Championship standing would be if it didn’t rain.
Useless mental exercise! Let’s stick to reality: Hayden is still leading the World Championship but lost 2 points advantage on Valentino, now in 2nd position at only 21 points. Pedrosa is now 3rd with Melandri at 32 points. With 3 races to go do not even think to miss the end of MotoGp Show.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Robert Lombardi's School: Pocono East Course

What a beautiful day we had in Pocono on the 7th of September. The school had 14 students, maybe the biggest class we have handled so far this year with the NYSB club. Robert and I wouldn’t have been able to handle the size of the class on the track without the help of the other two instructors of our school: Todd Cuso and Joe Ribeiro. It’s never easy to handle a big group of riders because the normal differences in performance, experience and natural skills are amplified by the size of the group. Everybody deserves a “personalized instruction and track experience” so the challenge was somehow to level the crowd by sharing the technical foundation of the art of riding and then to work with each and every student to unlock his/her potential. At the end of the day I think that we, as school, have achieved our goal: every body was much faster, smother, in control and …. nobody crashed.
I have found a few enthusiastic comments about the school on the NYSB b. board:
“Thank You NYSBC, I had a great day. Rob and the rest of the crew, thanks for a great day last Thursday Sept 7th on the beginner class. I learned so much its unbelievable and I can’t wait to go back. Already making plans for the 29th. This class builds a great foundation and starts the brick work for a better rider out on the track with lots of advanced tips thrown in for people to think about for later stages also.

The weather was fantastic and everybody in the pits just seemed to be having fun doing what they like to do best.

Mark thanks for putting this together and for the loan of the suit.

This day was one of my best day ever on a motorcycle!! Rob aka TV Superstar, Alessandro, Todd, Joe they were all great, fantastic control riders. The way how they explain those riding technics on the track and in the classroom is unbelievable. I personally learned a lot and I did that in a very safe environment what these guys provided at NYSBC. I can only recommend the NYSBC Sportbike Basic School with Rob Lombardi to everyone. It worth it!!! Now I want to go every week to a trackday!!!
I agree with Patrick and Almano. The instructors were great and even though I have been on a track before, it's been awhile and the course brought things back to basic for me. Can't wait for the 29th and this time, I hope to bring more that one of my friends along! Thanks to all and especiall Rob, Alessandro, Todd, and Joe for a great class and learning experience! See you all again on the 29th!



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alex 555 2000 R6 for Sale

I am selling my beloved year 2000 R6 for $3,800. Clean title, never raced, only club and school events.
It comes with:
Shark Skin body
Penske rear shock (high and low compression adjuster) valved-sprung for 180 lbs
Traction Dynamic fork valved-sprung for 180 lbs
Hindle full exhaust system (stainless can)
K&N filter
Set of Carbs jetted by Brian Livingood (former best AMA privateer)
Woodcraft rear set - standard
Woodcraft clip-ons
Scott damper
Stainless steel brake lines
Frame Sliders
Double bubble screen (not shown in the picture)
Fully safety wired
Good spare set of wheels

For more pics click on my album

Also, I am adding spare forks, brake levers, sprockets, brake pads, etc,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Robert Lombardi's School in the media

NYSB and Robert Lombardi’s basic School recently have been receiving a lot of attention from the media. The club and our school were portrayed on the Speed Channel with the show “Super Bikes!” and on the monthly magazine, Full Throttle.
In the article there is a presentation of the club and the school with several pictures. In one of them, I have recognized two ex students of mine: the rider with a bike # 99 is Antonio followed by Naim with a yellow Suzuki. You can easily perceive their huge improvement at the racetrack by comparing this picture with the ones linked to their names.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Round 13: Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle G.P.

The Italian Job, this is the title of latest movie with Rossi and Capirossi dicing in the intriguing Malaysian circuit. A movie with only two protagonists and tons of suspense. Yes, we had other actors in the play but with no chance to get into the “action scenes”. Not that we even needed them given the battle between the two Italians: I cannot even recall how many times they have passed each other. Even the commentator got confused with the replays showed while another pass was taking place. Capirossi had a faster bike and it seems more efficient on the brakes while Rossi looked better with his M1 in carrying more momentum in the part of the circuit characterized by several turns in sequence.
Both of them tried to take off but the distance separating the two riders was always filled as soon as the person in second place was riding his favorite section of the track. At the end Valentino Rossi won but it could have been Capirossi as well: both deserved to win. Probably Valentino’s acumen made the difference: the final pass was done on the brakes going into a left turn on their last lap. In the previous laps, going to that turn when Capirossi was leading, Rossi on the brakes went right to his competitor’s tail without showing the tire to take the measurements for his future attack. Also I recall him leading to the same turn and braking at the last few feet with such aggression that greatly challenged the stability of his Yamaha: even then he was probably testing another potential scenario…

The third place went to the “small but big” champion, Pedrosa : his performance was epic in consideration that on Friday he crashed and suffering a hole on his knee as big as a teaspoon and a couple of toes broken. Great mental strength for someone only 20 year old! I say mental because the physical pain must have been well in control with the magical painkillers provided by Dr. Costa’s team of specialists: I can not even imagine to bend an injured knee in a tight and oppressive leather suit without any heavy duty drug, but which one? In the past I heard that they were receiving a sort of anesthesia, but if that’s the case shouldn’t they loose their sensibility? Talking about injured people, Gibernau looked good on the red missile. I just hope for him to ride strong in the last 4 races so to improve his odds to get a good bike for next year: so far Ducati has renewed the contract only to Capirossi. On the other hand Hayden got a 4th place; no bad, but not enough from someone who is still leading the championship. Unfortunately the impression is that he is there only when the big guys are injured or suffering mechanical issues. And on this note I would like to ask a question: what is it happening to Melandri? How is it possible that the Fortuna Team so regular and competitive at the beginning of the season is not able to perform adequately at the end? Yes, I am a bit malicious but knowing what Honda has done in the past, I would not be surprised if they were “affecting” a bit the other satellite team to help the two official Team Repsol riders. Can you imagine if last Sunday Pedrosa and Hayden had made 4th and 5th because of a Melandri?
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