Thursday, April 26, 2007

MotoGp Poll: Grand Prix of China

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Last Sunday the second place for Elias was spectacular and totally unexpected, as matter of the fact his name was not listed as one of the first seven in the World Championship Standing. In China, next week it’s going to be even more difficult for the characteristic of the circuit with two long straights, one of which measure ¾ of a mile, the longest in the MotoGp calendar. Stoner and Capirossi are the favorite with their red Italian missile, but the resurgence of the Team Gresini with Elias and Melandri on improving Honda, could challenge the possibilities for the other contenders, Rossi, Pedrosa, Edwards and Hayden to get on the podium. Stoner has accumulated 10 points of advantage on Rossi and 25 on Pedrosa, he feels strong and absolutely not pressured by Rossi. It’s Rossi that has to prove that he is still the best, while Stoner has already done even more that his team was expecting from him. Anyhow, who is going to stand on the second step of the podium in China?

Grand Prix of Turkey: "Michelin Impossibile" ... even for Rossi

Last Sunday, back from the weekend in Pennsylvania, I went to check the results from Istanbul and it didn't take much to understand that something went wrong, very wrong if nobody out of the first three riders from the qualifications were able to make the podium. Stoner, the 21 year old Aussie on Ducati, won his second race of the season in a manner absolutely authoritative. After a crash on the first lap caused by Olivier wiping out Pedrosa and Edwards, Stoner took the lead on a mistake committed by Rossi, and maintained it to the end. Behind him, everything happened: Rossi, after taking a tour in the grass on the fastest turn of the circuit, found himself in 5th position. From there it took some time for the seven time World Champion to gain the second position: he seemed to struggle a little bit in making ground on the leaders of the race, maybe because he didn’t have the typical that extra corner speed that we had noticed in the first two rounds of the season. Probably the vibration that has churned the rear tire and forced him back to the tenth place was already challenging his confidence on the brakes. As matter of the fact when he was aggressively overtaken by Elias he did not reply. I would like to open a short parenthesis about the Spaniard who finished in second position at 6 seconds from Stoner but with 2 seconds on the rest of the group. Some people have pointed out that after what Rossi has done to Gibernau and other riders, last Sunday he shouldn’t have raised his elbow to fence off the young Honda rider and he should have avoided to comment (italian video) the accident with the press . About the first issue I am positive that raising the elbow and converging towards the other rider is totally normal in such a situation because there is a tendency to support each other in a moment of contact. Elias reached his side only by the turn point when Rossi was going to release the pressure on the brakes and dive toward the apex of the turn. It seems to me that Elias had never showed his front tire to the Italian, and he did gamble a little bit in a maneuver that, if not successful in its timing, would have sent Rossi out on the tangent compromising his race and in case of a bad accident even his championship. Also, Elias is the rider that knocked him down at the first race last year and he is the same guy that after some rough passing won by a couple of inches a race on Valentino that could have made him to win the 2006 MotoGp World Championship!
Anyhow, last Sunday the real show was for the third place: Capirossi at the end prevailed on the 37 year old Alex Barros and on the last year winner, Marco Melandri. Macho looked very aggressive but he was worn out by an extremely tough Hopkins, protagonist of a spectacular performance. Hayden, first Michelin rider, finished in a mere 7th position, definetely not enough for someone who is supposed to defend the crown.

Next appointment in China: another fast track where the Ducati will show off the extra speed. At this point all the attention is on Michelin: we have not forgot the faulty front tire that stopped Rossi last year and in consideration of the work done by Yamaha and its riders, the Michelin man has to be sure not to fail again ….
Video source

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

PMP Event: Pocono Raceway 4/21 – 4/22

We could have not dreamed a better weekend than this one! Last week started with torrential rain that has caused severe flooding in the Tri-State area. On Monday, Pocono International Raceway was covered by more than 11 inches of snow, and when we learned that the forecast was calling for a warm and seasonal weekend we were obviously skeptical about it. Well, the bleached smile people were damn right, because April gave us a memorable weekend.
The two-day event was organized by SBTT, Sport Bike Track Time, a club that has absorbed the former local Red-Duc organization that we had already used in the past. My impression is that the new club has somehow maintained the same warm and pleasant atmosphere, with a relaxed but well regulated organization that was able to guarantee a flawless weekend.
Even missing all the guys from NJ, the PMP crew had more than 10-15 riders from NY that along with friends and family members made a nice thick group of people eager to enjoy these two wonderful days. The dicing in the track and the playful mocking around the trailers have entertained everybody causing loud laughing and big smiles on our faces. In a club track event, there are obviously people faster than others, but somehow the interpretation of the facts is always very “personal” especially without the support of a lap timer. It goes from “..I didn’t want to stuff you …” to “ I could have passed you in that turn but I didn’t want to embarrass you” or ”… let me ride your bike and I will show you how you are supposed to ride it …” The historical situations between Rossi and Biaggi were nothing when compared to those created by our Frank and Naim, especially when you had everybody else pouring “gasoline over the fire”.

A special thank to Diana (JS Typography) for bringing the PMP shirts to us; Tina, Diana and Benny for the trays of freshly brewed coffee; Dave and Dima (Lee Miles Brooklyn) for offering their ethnic delicatessen; Almos (666 Cycle) and Rob Lombardi for the mechanical help to fix my GSX-R, and John, Peter and Antonio (Techline) to spare their bikes with me on Saturday.

For more action pictures visit RaceDayPhoto

PMP bikes: Painting by Mario Pires, Decals by Diana

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rossi is still involved with .... poultry

And we ended up with real chickens on the Yamaha … Do you remember last winter when Rossi decided to re-use the “old” Polleria Osvaldo sponsor while his team was searching for a new one replacing Camel. Well, today as per, AIA a leading Italian poultry brand has formalized a new sponsorship with Fiat Yamaha Team: someone must have seen in Rossi the famous Hen and the Golden Eggs …

MotoGp Poll: Grand Prix of Turkey

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In the last MotoGp Poll for the race in Spain the majority of people (83%)were correct in picking Pedrosa: the fastest rider … after Rossi. Sunday it is going to be totally different with several riders that could win the race, starting from Melandri, the winner of the past two editions, Stoner, Pedrosa, Rossi …. But the in the PMP MotoGp Poll, as usual, we try to guess the name of the rider that will finish in second position, and in Istanbul anything could happen ….

Friday, April 13, 2007

May You Rest In Peace: Sal Benanti

Two weeks ago, on March 30th, our friend Sal Benanti passed away while sleeping in his house. Sal was 70 years old and he was still racing motocross every weekend during the season. As matter of the fact the following day he was expected to attend an event upstate in New York.
Our initial surprise and pain for the loss of our friend have left us now with a sense of emptiness because he was always around in our whereabouts, helping in fixing bikes or just entertaining us with his unique manners.
In memory of our beloved friend I want to write again why he became a living legend, why he was able to do what most people even forty years younger cannot do even in their dreams:
“What’s his secret? You would expect some sort of special diet, magic pills or strenuous workout. Wrong! Sal is a witty person who doesn’t like to hang out with complainers (most of people of his age) and negative people. He is not afraid to try and he does not fear failure because even that it’s part of the game. He would tell you to live your present and not to worry about the future: deal with that when it comes.
Sal would tell your that whatever it is your age start the engine and just …do it.”

Rest In Peace Our Friend