Thursday, June 28, 2007

PMP Event: Pocono Raceway, June the 19th

On June 19th, another Absolute Cycle event brought us to Pocono, but this time on the North Course (lower right corner of the picture). The Lombardi School (Robert Lombardi, Steven Lombardi, Todd Cuso, Naim Behdzet and myself) had ten students that challenged themselves on the North banking of the raceway and on the famous cement patches that characterize the infield of the North and FUSA courses. They are famous because every time we teach a class we are asked the same question: “ Why there is cement in the middle of the turn” and our typical answer is “ …because in the past the asphalt turned to be rippled because of the cars, so a few years ago Pocono Raceway decided to eliminate those bumps, at that point too severe, with cement to avoid the repetition of the problem…but in doing that they have created another issue because the cement starts 3 feet from the inside of the turn and runs parallel to it, so now we have to make other decisions that go beyond what would be the racing line …".

Anyhow the weather was great, we had a very smooth day with all the students improving substantially from session to session while the rest of the riders enjoyed the high speed of the banking while friendly dicing with others. Later on I was told that in the advanced group our PMP control riders Mario Pires and Alex Berrera along with the well know racer Joe Ribeira put together a nice show with repetitive passings.
A special thank you goes to Mark and Roy from Absolute Cycle Performance for organizing another superb event; Pocono Raceway in the person of Bill Jones; the track Marshall Speedy and his excellent corner workers PA POSSE; Dennis Cuevas from Racedayphoto for the photo coverage and finally our sponsors for their continuous support:
Mario Pires from AJS Autowerks, Diana from JS Typography, Techline Constructions, United Watermains, 666 Cycle, Stucco Antico, SilverLining, Pasticceria Tichetti, MadeinItaly NYC, Strawberry Shakes & Grill, Brooklyn Bike Works, and Lee Miles Transmission in Brooklyn.

MotoGp Poll: A-Style TT Assen

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Last Sunday, Colin's second place was somehow a surprise considering that we would have imagined a better performance by Rossi or by Vermeulen, the Suzuki Rizla specialist. I have read that even in Assen there could be rain conditions, a critical situation for Valentino considering that his Michelin rain compound do not seem as good as those for dry conditions. Anyhow, has posted the results of the FP#1 with Stoner preceding Rossi with a gap of .04, Hayden with .18 and Edwards with .41. Also they reported their top speed: 290kmh for Stoner against 281 for Rossi and 285 for Hayden. Ok, we have to pick who is going to get the second place in Assen and even thought there are several possible candidates, I choose Stoner. Rossi needs to fill the gap separating him from the leader; he needs to win in Holland while Stoner is still the best rider at this point.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Michelin recalls some Pilot tires

Valentino and the other MotoGp Michelin riders are not the only ones to suffer from the quality of their tires. Our PMP friend Almos has found the following picture of a Pilot, showing the consequences of some sort of manufacturing defect. As reported by the recall affects the 120/70 ZR 17 (58W) Michelin Pilot Power 2CT and Michelin Pilot Power front tires with the label "Made in France" and the marking DOT 6UCW 980T or DOT 6UCW 979T.
Last night we were watching again the Donington race in Matchless sipping some charming Stella Artois when Naim shouted ... I swear that my Supercorsa are better than those Michelin, and I bet that I could hook Vale up with a better price ...(LOL).
A company wants to be in MotoGp to give worldwide visibility to its products and services but when at racing and street level people start losing trust, it's a major strategical problem to face for any corporation even for one of the biggest in the industry.

Picture source:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Casey "Stormer" conquers even Donington

Casey “Stormer” wins even in a soggy Donington Park, in a track where, theoretically, his red Missile shouldn’t have outperformed the rest of the competitors.
Indeed on Saturday during the qualifications he had made a mistake on his fast lap and for that reason he ended up in 5th position in the final grid. A grid that had 4 Michelin riders in the first 4 places: Edwards, Rossi, Pedrosa and Hayden. The qualifications results prompted all different kind of speculations given this unusual grid but we were in Donington, England, where they have the greenest run offs of all the all the MotoGp circuits so it was not surprise that on Sunday it was raining. At the beginning Pedrosa led the group for 4 laps but as soon Edwards passed him and he had to ride in the clouds of water created by the front riders his start losing positions. The Texas Tornado seemed very comfortable under the rain in a track that he knows very well and maintained the first position for 15 laps, or until he started suffering Stoner's pressure, he went wide on a right turn and left the door opened to the Aussie. Casey had been riding behind him for 10 laps at a pace very similar to the leader, but when the rain stopped and the riders formed a dry line, his Bridgestone turned to be the winning cards for the day. The Michelin tires of Edward & Co. started to overheat and losing pieces of thread as the camera mounted under Valentino’s tail showed very clearly. The analysis of the fastest lap for each rider shows 5 Bridgestone riders leading before Edwards and Rossi, the fastest Michelin men. Curiously the best time for the Bridgestone group was achieved between the 23rd and the 27th lap, when they were riding in dry conditions.
Let’s face it: Rossi never looked very comfortable Sunday. He was already more than 4 seconds behind the leaders when he started matching their lap times. On top of that he mistakenly went into the grass in a double right for which he lost precious time that could have been useful in defending his third position against Vermeulen. The young Aussie took advantage of Rossi’s rear wheelspin when the track started drying out and passed him with four laps to go relegating the Doctor in 4th position.
Now with other 10 races, Stoner has extended his lead to 26 points: not too many, but still quite a bit considering that he has won 5 of eight MotoGp races, in pretty much any condition. Right now the trio Stoner-Ducati-Bridgestone seems irresistible with Rossi, the only other contender to the World Championship, still working hard with the Fiat-Yamaha and Michelin engineers in order to improve the performance of his YZR-M1. With 2 of the last 3 races in wet conditions where he suffered the dominance of the red Casey “Stormer”, I am sure that for Assen he is hoping for a sunny day, like he had in Mugello for his last victory.

Picture Source

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Who's this person?

Nowadays it’s easy to go at a race event and see the PMP “That’s How We Ride” shirt and ask yourself: who is this person?

Any clue?

Answer: Bill Jones, Pocono Raceway Manager in charge with the leasing of track facilities or in other words the person with whom every club renting the track has to work elbow to elbow for a smooth and flowless event.

Stoner like Gibernau?

Stoner has already been compared to Gibernau and people seem to agree that the Aussie is a better rider, someone who seems not to crack under pressure or when jinxed. Almos, one of our PMP members, has found a very interesting video from LeMans, 2003 World Championship.
Rossi and Gibernau are both riding Hondas, same engines, same speed … only different wrists
Enjoy the show

Video source

Rossi and his feelings at the beginning of a straight

Today, as reported by the Italian medias, Valentino participated via telephone at a prominent radio show, Vivaradio2. Initially Rossi acted as he was just one of fans calling to talk to the singer invited for the day, but then he went on talking about the World Championship and ventilating his concerns about the extra power for the Ducati engines. Among other things he said “…the Japanese companies were not ready to the change of engines, while the Ducati it was… Unfortunately the speed gap on the straights is almost embarrassing …” and then added “ I almost cry at beginning of a straight … but I will compete hard against the Ducatis and Stoner, who is riding like a God …”
Anyhow, the serious topics and comments left space to irresistible laughing when Rossi agreed to participate in a play during which he imitated the engine sound of his race bike, even during the gear shifting and at … the beginning of the straights (LOL).

Good luck Champ …. we will be watching you.

As matter of the fact, next Monday at 8:00PM the PMP crew will meet at Matchless, a bar in Williamsurg, NYC, to watch again the 250cc and the MotoGp races along with other local motorbike lovers. See you there, hopefully drinking on Valentino’s victory in Donington.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A fast lap on the legendary Nuerburgring

This video is suggested by Almos: a fast lap on the fabulous Nuerburgring.
Thank you to jmlwalker67 who has posted it on YouTube we learn that the rider is Helmut Dahne, bike lap record holder on a RC 30. In the video he is riding a R1 and commenting his lap with a voice that I would have never linked to a damn fast guy!!!! His lines, throttle control and braking are just perfect! He rides with the confidence and smoothness of a champion knowing perfectly the challenges of the Ring, maybe the most difficult racetrack built in the world.

Video Source

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gran Premi De Catalunia: 7th round to Stoner

Last Sunday we watched the 7th round of the match between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, the only two contenders to the 2007 MotoGp World Championship. Stoner has won this bout but without a knockout, a clear triumph that wouldn’t leave space to different interpretations.
Rossi had the pole, but as usual, a slow start relegated him in fourth position so it took two laps for him to pass Hopper and another eight, almost half race, to overtake Pedrosa. Only at this point he was able to start giving pressure to Stoner: initially he tried a few times in a double left turn and then at the end of the long straight of the Catalunya circuit. I have said “pressure” because he didn’t have enough speed to build a real gap from the Australian kid. Rossi’s M1 seemed extremely stable on the brakes and able to keep the line even under heavy trail braking but more than once the Italian went a bit wide as result of his overtaking and Stoner grabbed the opportunity to pass him again. Everybody knows that Ducati is the fastest bike, even when the Italian factory team limits its top speed for gas consumption reasons in certain racetrack, but Sunday we noticed the extra acceleration too. So far Stoner has been able to master the acceleration of his bike by edging tires and throttle to the perfection. Vice versa Capirossi, his teammate, has been struggling with the extra power: it seems that on the high speed turns he carries more speed up to the apex but then he is slower than the Aussie in opening the throttle .
Going back to our match, until the end Valentino tried to induce an error from his competitor and even when, at three laps from the end, he was able to gain a few bikes from Casey, the small advantage was immediately filled on the following long stretch. The 21 year old Ducati rider is living a magic moment with flawless performance on the best bike on the grid. Sunday, Capirossi on the Ducati was able to go from the 17th place to 7th, an incredible performance but the same couldn’t be said for Edwards who started in 5th position to end the race in 10th. Curiously Edward was the first Michelin rider after Rossi and Pedrosa.
The Spaniard got the third position, a great result considering that he was the only rider able to stay with the two leaders the whole race but, honestly, I was surprised that he didn’t try to mix his cards again with an aggressive move whenever he had the opportunity. Unless Pedrosa was hoping in a contact or big mistake by Rossi and Stoner that could have opened the road to an easy victory, something that it could have happened after all ….
Randy De Puniet was the big surprise of the day: fourth with a broken collarbone and a knee swollen to the point that he could barely walk!!!!! I do not know what kind of fracture, if any, he has suffered but last fall I broke my collarbone and I couldn't ride my bike for several weeks so, once again, I praise the magic work performed by Doct. Claudio Costa’s Clinica Mobile.
Finally, let's give a standing ovation to the fast and courageous John Hopkins: he stormed to a well-deserved fourth place after setting the fastest lap during the race and an unofficial lap record at the testing session held at the Catalunya track the day after the MotoGp race. Hopper is really getting confident with his Suzuki and the Bridgestone tire package so I am positive that he will be one of the protagonists of the end of the season, one of those riders that will be stealing precious points to the leaders of the World Championship.
Ten days to Donnington, to the next round …..Only 14 points separate the two contenders …..I am betting on Rossi

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gran Premio D'Italia: The Doctor rules for the 6th time in Italy

I have just came back from Arizona and last Sunday race in Mugello already belongs to the past, to the history of an amazing 2007 World Championship. Today, June 9, 2007, Valentino won the pole for tomorrow’s race in Catalunya and it’s obviously too late to elaborate on what happened in Italy 6 days ago. Anyhow I would like to ask a question: how is possible to live without MotoGp? While 85,000 people were screaming and yelling, laughing and crying creating a live and colorful frame to the gorgeous race track in Tuscany, Italy, in Phoenix, Arizona …..nothing!!!! There, to find a sport bike is as difficult as to find some shade in the desert. The majority of riders are Harley Davidson guys riding with no helmet, no gloves, or any sort of protection. They do not look happy, indeed most of them display tough expressions on their faces, that are not softened at all by their round and big bellies.
I have to admit that I had access to Speed Vision but a long time ago I decided to avoid to watch my favorite show in a channel that constantly chops the race with commercials. So I watched the race on MotoGp only when I got back in Brooklyn, a couple of days ago. I already knew the final result but I must admit that I was impressed by the dynamic of the competition. Once again the tires, more than anything else, affected the race: all the Bridgestone guys were not totally comfortable with their rubber and Melandri more than everybody else: he was flying in the first part of the race and it looked that he could have battled for the podium, but then vibrations, lack of grip and proper feed-back forced him to slow down. Rossi had a slower bike, slower than the Ducatis, the Hondas and Hopper’s Suzuki but the Fiat-Yamaha jackass on french hooves seemed to follow the inputs of its rider perfectly in the twisty parts of the race track, so once Vale decided to overtake his competitors, he did it with a confidence and an authority that does not find equals in the rest of the circus.
He is the King of Mugello and the only one able to keep writing pages of epic racing over the years.
Today’s pole position in Spain was won with the heart, but Stoner is right there in 4th position and, once again, he seems to have the fastest race pace: to win, Rossi would need to pull a rabbit out of his hat for a second time … or better to find more of those carrots for his jackass like in Mugello.