Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Red: Fatal Attraction.

Red is one of the most interesting colors. If in certain cultures is linked to luck, heroism, success and erotism, just to mention a few symbolisms, in motorsport, red is synonymous of speed and success, something built by Ferrari in F1 and Ducati in the WSBK.

The 2007 MotoGp World Championship won by Stoner in such authoritative way has projected Team Ducati at the top of the competition. In the last two years the Japanese have been forced to chase the development and the performances of the Red Missile. A lot of you still remember the 2007 MotoGp in China when at the end of the race Rossi claimed that in his career he had never seen such a difference in performance among factory bikes.

With Stoner winning the #1 plate and still being the fastest guy at every circuit, it’s normal to see riders hoping to get into Team Ducati. As Jimmy will probably recall, at the end of 2006 I was disappointed that Melandri had chosen Gresini and his satellite Honda instead of going to Borgo Panicale. I was also quite superficial in thinking that the issue Capirossi- Ducati was related to him and the new 800cc bikes in general. When Macho finally moved to Ducati, I was positive he would have had a great season ahead. Well, I am glad that I didn't bet money on it because now I would be in RED! Ducati is a fast horse but only with the right rider, the Aussie. I still have hard time to accept the fact that Capirossi and then Melandri have suffered their worst season in their career while riding the current World Champion’s bike.

While the first one has found a great team and a competitive bike in the Rizla Suzuki, I hope that Melandri’s choice with the Kawasaki in 2009, instead of the satellite Gresini-Honda, will be the right one: green is normally linked to hope.

With Rossi and Lorenzo in Yamaha and Pedrosa in Honda, as long as they give him Bridgestone tires I would add, the only “available” rider to become witched by the Red Beauty is Nicky Hayden: good luck champ, we wish you all the best!

Picture| Via

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Grand Prix Ceske Republiky:The Doctor’s winning therapy.

Today, at the end of the MotoGp, Rossi compared Stoner’s crash to Biaggi’s one in 2001 at the same track. It could be a pure coincidence or a planned analogy but, regardless, the result doesn’t change since the Doctor’s medicine for his adversaries it is the same inside and outside the track: building a steady mounting pressure. In the last couple of years Yamaha and especially Michelin didn’t support his game, but now the Doctor is back with a competitive bike and tires as good as his competitors. With 5 wins and 50 points over Stoner, only Rossi can loose his 8th World Title. Stoner seems to have lost momentum with two questionable performances right when we was asked to prove his real talent, his ability to “outperform” under pressure. If in Laguna Seca he let Rossi to suck him in a fight where he lost the victory and, I would add his confidence, today in Brno he gave away the championship on a silver plate. If in Laguna Stoner almost searched the dice with Rossi, today he played his most obvious card, the solo ride from the start to the finish. Strong of 6 consecutive poles, he thought that by building a buffer zone he could have avoided the Italian pressure. He went down with a stupid low-side, maybe over a little bump that must have suddenly challenged the grip of his crazy-glue Bridgestone. Most likely it wasn’t his fault and this is what he wants to hear now, but the reality is that he took that line, released the front brake and hit that apex. After taking off like a missile at the green light, the Aussie wasn’t able to disappear because Rossi after a couple of laps seemed capable to stabilize the gap with a very efficient ride of his Yamaha in the twisty sections of the track. Stoner’s time board must have appeared like a mirror filled by Rossi’s contour and, if I recall it properly, the Ducati rider rode his fasted lap right before crashing.
At this point it’s totally normal to question the assumption that Ducati had found a talent able to obliterate, in a few seasons, Rossi, the greatest rider of the modern history. I don’t want to elaborate too much this topic because there are still six races to watch where Stoner will do his best not only to win but to help everybody to forget the past two MotoGps. Anyhow Ducati shouldn’t be too disappointed since today after Rossi and Stoner there is nobody, particularly now that Pedrosa is injured. Another issue about which everybody agrees is that Ducati is not for every rider, as Capirossi and Melandri have proved. They need someone fearless, able to take the red bull by the horns, like a real matador, maybe someone like Elias. Yes, Elias was the real surprise of the day, the only rider able to add some salt on a race that was quite boring. I don’t want to forget to mention Capirossi’s podium, but his result was announced in the first day of practice in dry conditions. On the other end Elias’s performance was totally unexpected and made even more special by the rumors that his presence in MotoGp had recenlty been questioned.
I wonder if today Elias has somehow mixed the cards on the table for the Ducati Team. We know that Hayden would love to be in red and Gibernau would definitely come back and I speculate for considerable amount of money, but what about Elias? His second place was only the result of a lucky day, the outcome of a providential bike set-up that he wouldn’t be able to replicate in the future, or the simple dividend of his hard work on a bike that it’s evidently difficult to understand? Misano will answer.

Photo source| via YouTube

Thursday, August 14, 2008

MotoGp Poll: Grand Prix Ceske Republiky

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With Rossi and Stoner shaking hands, yes I repeat it, shaking hands and showing their best smiles during the press conference before the long weekend in Brno, the PMP blog is back with its traditional MotoGp Poll. I am suggesting the first 6 riders in the championship as candidates to “to miss the victory”. Pedrosa should have recovered from the injuries suffered in his high speed crash as well as Lorenzo who, hopefully, has been able to get back his mojo lost somehow at the beginning of the season after his sensational couple of races. Also we should keep an eye on Dovizioso, a young rider who has impressed every body for his consistency, somehow unexpected for a MotoGp rookie.
Rumors appear to confirm Carlos Checa as substitute for Nicky Hayden: the outgoing Kentucky Kid has injured his foot in a recent supermoto race and hopefully will be back in Misano.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good manners count: always.

The Laguna Seca show couldn’t have happened at a better time: for three weeks, it left us wondering what will happen in the second leg of the season.
Rossi and Stoner, the protagonists of one of the most breathtaking races in the last few years, have vacationed in different parts of the world, but I am positive that they must have re-played in their minds, over and over, the crucial moments of their last race. Who knows how many times they have asked themselves if the outcome in Laguna, indeed, reflects their real level of skills. In a recent interview, Valentino wished that the rest of the races would be as much fun as the last one was. Stoner’s reply: I have rested in Australia with my family and my wife while training and now I cannot wait to race again. My guess is that the Aussie is still in pain from the last defeat during which his performance has raised obvious questions. Is he as good as Rossi? Can he stand that kind of pressure? Can he win in a tight dice where he cannot use the extra speed of his Ducati?
Have said that, as Rossi’s fan, I am not the most neutral person to conduct a comparison among the two riders, I believe that Stoner in Laguna Seca cracked under the pressure built by the Italian champion one overtaking action after another one. We don’t know if Stoner’s strategy was the result of something planned ahead of just the outcome of the testosterone typical of a young rider. Anyhow, in his boots, after realizing the type of race that I had ahead, I would have gave Rossi the false impression that I had given up, only to attack him in the last couple of laps. Also, with an eye on the championship it would have been better to “accept” a second place than to crash and jeopardize the final classification.
Last note just for the records of the PMP blog, we, Rossi’s fan, motorbike lovers and sport people in general, have not forgot Stoner’s refusal in shaking Valentino’s hand at the end of the race: a terrible example of sportsmanship for the millions of viewers all around the globe.

Picture Via|Motoblog