2011 Jerez MotoGP Race Day Round Up: The Feeding Frenzy

I'm sure I can take a pretty good guess at what you'd all like me to write about, but with your permission, I'll come to that in a minute. Valentino Rossi's excessively optimistic dive up the inside of Casey Stoner, and the ensuing fallout in its many varied forms will generate many millions of words in the future. It may even end up being the decisive moment in the championship, though we won't know that until November. But that crash will overshadow a few stories which deserve a little limelight of their own.

The rain at Jerez was the worst kind, the kind that makes the track greasy and wet, without providing a nice layer of water to help keep tires cool. The rain started early, a few spots appearing at around 8am, becoming gradually heavier over the course of the day, only stopping once the racing was done.

The conditions made the already slippery track absolutely treacherous, and though it produced a bizarre crashfest spectacular, those conditions also revealed an intriguing insight into the art of motorcycle racing. Grip was minimal, tires - especially the soft-compound Bridgestone wets - ran hot and stripped rubber, and mistakes and arrogance were punished mercilessly, intelligence, tire management and racecraft rewarded all the more.

In almost every class, we saw unfamiliar names at the front of the race. In the 125cc class, there was Danny Kent, Taylor Mackenzie and Zulfahmi Khairuddin. In Moto2, Kev Coglan scored an outstanding 8th place, and Max Neukirchner got into the top 10, though at the expense of his teammate Ant West. In the MotoGP race, Marco Simoncelli led for a good portion, his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama came within a couple of tenths of his maiden podium in the class, and the rookies Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham impressed with very strong showings until both men crashed out.

But the real lesson of today's racing is the value of maturity. Sandro Cortese had dominated a lot of free practice in the 125s, yet it was Cortese who lost his head crashed out. Nico Terol, the calm, methodical Spaniard, stayed calm when he needed to, pushed past teammate Hector Faubel towards the end, then backed off once Faubel crashed out. Thomas Luthi took his second podium of the season, remaining fast without risking a crash at every corner. And a masterful display by Jorge Lorenzo secured the Spaniard a comfortable victory and an equally comfortable lead in the championship.

The other side of that coin was exemplified by Marco Simoncelli. The San Carlo Gresini rider had ridden a brilliant race, pushing through the field early to pass all of the top men, and with a healthy lead to cushion him from attacks. But instead of managing the gap, he pushed on, losing the front at Turn 1, nearly saving it, then highsiding out of the race. Simoncelli's sheer talent is beyond question, the Italian is fast, aggressive, and a fantastic competitor. But until he finds a way to keep a cool head, even when leading a MotoGP race for the first time in his career, victories, and more especially championships, will be very hard to take.

Speaking of unwise maneuvers brings us naturally to the subject of Valentino Rossi's pass on Casey Stoner. At the core of the incident lies a misunderstanding, it appears. Rossi claims that he had not intended to pass Stoner on the brakes going into Turn 1, but that he found himself going too deep and too fast, and ended up on the inside of the Australian. The Australian, in turn, says he heard Rossi behind him, and left him plenty of room to make the pass on the inside. Rossi dived into the gap having braked too late, but having been offered the inside, he no longer had an escape route. Unable to make the corner, Rossi folded the front, wiping out Stoner in the process.

Speaking of the crash itself, both men were perfectly clear: Rossi said it was a mistake, and Stoner said it was a racing incident of the type that is inherent to motorcycle racing. Though Stoner gave Rossi a sarcastic slow hand clap as he passed the place where the Australian had been left stranded, Stoner understood that the pass was just one of those things. It may not have been Rossi's smartest ever move, but Stoner certainly doesn't think it was either deliberate or aimed particularly at him.

The pass is illustrative of Valentino Rossi's situation with the Ducati, however. Speaking to the press on Sunday afternoon, Rossi explained that he may well have been a little overeager. "Looking now, you know, when have a very difficult test, a difficult preseason, a difficult first race, when you have the chance to win, you are very excited. I think this is a human characteristic, and I think for that reason I made the mistake. "

The pressure is clearly starting to tell on Valentino Rossi, who came to Ducati expecting to take the bike that Stoner had won so many races, and with a few tweaks, turn it from a fast-but-difficult weapon into a machine capable of dominating the class. The reality has been sobering, Rossi struggling throughout the preseason and still consistently well off the pace.

An argument during the pre-event press conference show just how Rossi was struggling with the machine. Rossi immediately took one Italian journalist to task for giving him 4 marks out of 10 for his performance at Qatar. "I have never had a 4 before in my life!" he exclaimed, arguing for several minutes with the journalist. Being marked down by the leading sports daily in Italy is painful for Rossi, and leaves him acutely aware of the risk he has taken signing for Ducati. The success that created a legend, switching from Honda to Yamaha in 2004, actually puts more pressure on Rossi, as the Italian is expected not to fail. The Ducati is a difficult beast, however, and Filippo Preziosi seems to have taken it off in entirely the wrong direction for 2011.

The causes of the crash were relatively simple, but the fallout is already complex and likely only to grow over the next weeks until Estoril. It all started with the treatment of the two riders as they were picking themselves up out of the gravel. Both men were helped up, the corner workers first tending to Rossi, to ensure that he was not trapped under his bike. Rossi had whipped in the clutch to keep the engine of the Ducati running, but his leg had got caught under the bike. Once the marshals had extricated him from the tangle, Rossi could get back on his bike and get back underway.

Casey Stoner faced a much more difficult task. The Australian had cut the engine on his RC212V, to avoid any damage from the bike running on its side. But the Honda's fancy gearbox requires two pins to be inserted in the clutch to allow the engine to be started. It is possible to bumpstart the engine without these pins, but it is extremely difficult.

What happened next was revealed in a series of photos captured by Andrew Wheeler, who was standing on the inside of Turn 1 when the crash unfolded in front of him. While Rossi was departing, Casey Stoner was picking his bike up out of the gravel, and 6 marshals gathered round the Australian. Five of them started to push him on his way, and over the next few seconds, the marshals melted away one-by-one. By the time the bike was going fast enough to to try and start, there was only one man left pushing the bike, uphill towards the crest leading to Turn 2.

Without sufficient manpower to give him the speed he needed, and the one corner worker forced to work uphill, struggling against gravity, starting Stoner's bike proved to be impossible, a failure which Stoner took very much to heart. Afterwards, he blamed the marshals for a lack of impartiality, rushing to help Rossi, a rider who needed little assistance, while not helping him, who clearly needed help bump-starting the bike.

Stoner's complaint had been echoed earlier by Marco Simoncelli, who had also claimed that corner workers had left him to fend for himself instead of trying to bump-start the bike. But there is a further factor to consider, that by the time Stoner approached the crest of the hill, he was starting to impinge on the racing line. This may have been the reason the marshals retreated, rather than any perceived favoritism for Valentino Rossi.

The next item of contention came in the garages, when Rossi entered the Repsol Honda pit to apologize to Stoner. The Italian walked in with his helmet still on, and trailing TV cameras in his wake. He offered his apologies, but Stoner took the opportunity to get in a couple of quips, asking first how Rossi's shoulder was, then telling the Italian that his ambition had outweighed his talent. Rossi then retreated from the garage, making quips of his own to Italian television about Stoner now knowing who he is.

Andrea Dovizioso had an interesting take on this situation, saying that both men were partially right. "It is good for Rossi to apologize," Dovi told reporters, "but Stoner is right that it was not good for Valentino to do what he did." The TV cameras were unavoidable, Dovizioso said, but that did not leave Rossi entirely innocent. "The TV always follows Valentino, this is just the way it is," the Italian said. "But Valentino knows this also."

This was not the first incident between the two, Dovizioso pointed out, saying that "there is a big history with them" which may also have played a major role in proceedings. Dovizioso certainly wasn't under the impression that this was going to blow over any time soon.

In their respective press briefings, both Rossi and Stoner skated round the issue, both carefully avoiding attacking the other. But there were plenty of under-the-table jabs, though, Stoner complimenting Pedrosa and Lorenzo for being such clean racers, Rossi playing innocent, while having earlier said to Italian TV that maybe Stoner didn't know who he was.

In the end, neither man came out of it completely untainted. Valentino Rossi's desperation at the deficit Ducati has caused the Italian to make a stupid move, the kind of move Rossi hasn't tried for several years. Casey Stoner - very much the innocent party, having been robbed of a certain podium finish by the incident - ended up reinforcing the stereotype many fans have of him, whether his complaining was justified or not.

There is more to say about this story, and it is something I shall return to over the coming days. But in the meantime, another key act of the 2011 MotoGP championship is due to take place either Monday or Tuesday, when Dani Pedrosa finally gets the plate in his collarbone removed. The screws holding the collarbone together have been causing his subclavian artery to be compressed while riding, robbing him of feeling in his hand. Pedrosa should be back at full strength at Estoril, putting three of MotoGP's four aliens back on an even keel. That has got to be good for racing, and that will be good for MotoGP. Until then, we can feast on controversy, and on speculation on what effect Rossi's taking out of Casey Stoner will have in six months time, when the title race starts to be decided.

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Your sober assessment makes frothy-mouthed raving more difficult.

We're probably going to be really tired of hearing about this by the end of the week, nevermind November.

very well written david. an uncharacteristic school boy error by rossi should ignite the championship even further. let the fireworks explode

As much as I love reading your assessments I have to laugh that anyone could make the assumption that Stoner was on course to make the podium. That is a laugh after watching the race in it's REAL ending, it also seems at least a little sad that the apparent disrespect/disregard doled out by the so called aliens toward the 2006 WORLD CHAMPION has influenced the media to seemingly minimize that mans accomplishments on a foul beast of a race bike, one that even Vale cant tame (yet).

Great Ride Nick!!!!!

I think the point is that you can't assume one way or the other - he was taken out early and didn't get the chance to race for it. Also, he would have got some sort of points.

Rossi's talent is without question but I have some reservations about his sportsmanship. He seems the type who's all friendly banter as long as he's winning, but quite different when serious competition shows up. When Gibernau proved a real threat in 2003-05, Rossi's temperament changed dramatically. Rossi's got "plausible denial" at Jerez '05 but ultimately a dirty move in my book. Exactly the same thing with Stoner since '07 (...think Laguna '08) and Lorenzo more recently. I understand the impulse to intimidate competitors (only natural really) but want to point out that Rossi is as human as every other rider out there. I'd love to see other riders drop their deference and scrape Rossi's paint like everyone else (thinking now of Lorenzo's comment, "Maybe in the future his rivals will get a little bit mad and we will act like he usually does"), if only to see how Rossi responds. If he takes it like a racer, well, fair play then. If he complains unnecessarily, I'll lose a bit more respect for the former champion.

Well given that Stoner was racing somewhat conservatively, yet you had the Simmonceli's and Rossi's racing through the pack like they were running an extra 100cc's.. perhaps the result wouldn't have been so 'obvious' in the end.

Look at Lorenzo and Hayden's tyres at the end of the race. Both of those guys were riding with relative smarts, not pushing too hard and preserving what tyres they had under them.

Do you really thing Rossi and Sic would have had rubber under them after running the pace that they were that early? Not a chance. The Stoners, Lorenzos and Pedrosas would have have risen to the top.

Fortunately for Repsol, they don't need the rain to create an illusion of speed and form.

All you have to do is grab the test, practice, qualifying and race results from the Valencia test last year through till now, lay them all out in a line and there's your evidence on show. Stoner doesn't need a bit of rain and a hot head to prove he is quick.

Rossi apparently does these days.

Interesting point ; I would just add that Hayden stated that he enjoyed great traction on the Duke during the earlier part of the race. Probably that helps being relatively fast while conserving tires, with respect to Hondas for instance.
Yet Rossi's tires would have been more worn than Hayden's, that's for sure.

Excellent stuff David. Thanks so much for making this site the best on the net for exactly the kind of sober reporting we need in a moment like this.

While I feel the marshals were biased towards Rossi, I find it difficult to criticize marshals who don't push the bikes back onto the track. The marshals are not community bump-starters.

If anything, this situation will hopefully lead to a rule that prohibits marshals from assisting riders back onto the track. When you think about it, it is absurd that race officials are permitted to interfere with the race results. The riders should have to restart their own bikes.

If the manufacturers are really worried about it, they can raise the min weight by a few kilos, and add starter systems. No reason to put marshals in an impossible situation. No reason to throw them under the bus for failing to start Casey's bike. Marshals aren't team employees, and they shouldn't be interfering with race results.

Exactly. The marshalls are there for rider safety, not as a distributed pit crew. I think a rule preventing them from assisting a restart is a good idea.

David, aren't most of the bikes ballasted up to the minimum weight anyway? Adding a (voluntary) starting system would not add much weight or cost.

adding such system will disrupt and add 'unnecessary' load to the engine though..
on my bike, when i remove the starter system, it will run noticeably easier to rev up and able to reach higher rpm than with the system installed.

the motogp teams are not from this world though, so they must know something (or everything) that i don't.

At one time any rider receiving outside assistance - ie help from marshals to restart - was discounted from the results!
Can you imagine how many finishers there would be if that rule was still in force today?
That aside there was a definite favoritism towards Valentino - and as Casey himself has said "This is something that everyone who races against Valentino has to expect!"

Rather sad - but ultimately true!

If you go back and watch the melee you can see after Rossi gets going about 5 pit workers go back and try to help bumpstart Stoner. If Stoner had gotten restarted he could have been a little pissy about Rossi getting away first. The fact of the matter is that the Honda is a real bitch to bumpstart. Simoncelli had the same problem later in the race. I think the contention that the corner workers didn't help Stoner

See this screenshot:

Clearly he was being helped. I doubt the Marshalls made an conscious decision to favor one rider over another. It was just herd mentality combined with adrenaline.

I watched the race on Eurosport and they kept implying that Dani's shoulder was possibly helped by it being a wet race before fatigue finally setting in but I would wonder if the wet didn't help so much because even though he maybe had a little less pressure on the shoulder with the lap times being significantly slower it means he'd be on that shoulder that much longer.

I think before we start arguing whether the marshals let Stoner down or not, it would be helpful to clarify just what *are* their responsibilities in respect to assisting the riders? Frankly, this is not something I've given any thought before and I suspect many other readers have no idea either.

Marshals have briefings before the weekend starts. They are told what is expected of them. What I would expect a TRUE race fan to have is impartiality. It should be second nature. And I would expect a marshal IS a race fan because it is voluntary. At Jerez I hope it was more the fact the marshals were star struck and wanted to touch Vale and his bike rather than be poor sports by helping protect a points lead for the local rider, I hope!!. Poor sportsmanship by so called `race' fans leads me to my next point. I was absolutley disgusted and amazed at the crowd who stood and cheered and clapped when Rossi and Stoner went down. That's right these two crashed and the crowd cheered. It wasn't just a few bad sports, it was the whole corner in unison. It kind of reminds me of Stoner being booed in the UK.. booed for winning. I don't warm to some riders and I understand how Stoner can allienate people... but I could never bring myself to cheer or jeer a rider who crashes regardless of the advantages for my favourite. I'm a Stoner fan and also a race fan. I want him to win because he's beaten the best and had to ride like a demon to do it.

i only saw the replay of the crowd on tv, but to me it seemed like the crowd were cheering when rossi made the overtaking move. most of them seemed pretty shocked when they both crashed

found this on Neil Spaulings twitter page.... pretty funny.... but sad too..

>>@Spalders quote of the weekend "i never thought stoner would have another ducati front end crash" GENIUS” One tries!!! ;)

Rossi did over cook it - shows, I think, how much presure he's under.. that said, with the conditions as they were, I think a win by Stoner is a bit presumptious... conditions were very tough today... sad incident, I got so excited when Simo. Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo were 1 - 4 sadly that lasted about 30 seconds.

I thought Rossi was a big chicken to keep his helmet on. But VR was good enough to go straight away and apologize for it. I thought Stoner comments, were a bit childish given how many challenges everyone had the remainder of the race - particularly when they got to the top 4 positions... Then again, I would be furious too. However, the stewards did try to help stoner - how could they of known how difficult the Honda was to bump start? Julian Ryder points out that if the stewards would have crested the hill they'd of been directly in the racing line...

I loved the race, but still like watching dry races more.

I think Julian Ryder's point is the key to this so called favoritism. Yes the stewards picked Rossi up first, but I'd hope so. He was lying on the ground where other bikes could hit him if they crashed! Stoner pretty much picked up his own bike before the marshalls had got to him and, once the bikes both upright, Rossi's bike was running, so off he went. As the photo referenced below clearly shows, the marshalls then tried to push Stoner.

However, they realistically shouldn't go on track at all unless there is a safety issue (which there no longer was), and certainly not on the racing line.

I've really come around in the last few years and I love watching Casey ride and win. Unfortunately, he still suffers from frustration over lack of recognition. He's frustrated that people don't understand and appreciate how hard it was for him to come up through the ranks; he's frustrated that people incorrectly attribute his championship solely to the Ducati and now he's indignant that people fall all over themselves to help Valentino while leaving him stranded. The hard part about all of this is that Casey is mostly right, but the years will teach him that there is more to almost everything than just being right. Hopefully he can put this behind him just like Laguna Seca. He has everything he needs to win the championship, he just needs to keep his head focused on winning and let someone else worry about being 'right' and 'understood'.

Here's looking to more great racing and less soap operas...

Once again thanks David for cutting through the crud and providing a balanced article offering more than a regurgitation of only a few quotes by the respective riders.

While I concede Casey's comment about the shoulder was having a bit of a dig at Rossi, I think the comment about his ambition outweighing his talent is quite just on this occasion. I have heard commentators use this line many times over the years and on this occasion it really fit the bill! Rossi has been known to have shots and Stoner also so if the opportunity presents itself....

Interesting to hear Rossi admitting he just overcooked the corner. This to me absolves all 'blame' of Rossi by admitting he just made a mistake and wasn't trying to ride in a win it or bin it manner. Rossi has always been gracious in defeat (almost always) and I think there was no malice on this occasion.

As for the marshalls, whilst they may have gone to Rossi first as he was still on the ground and Stoner was rubber side up - there were EIGHT of them! Surely they would have the brains to split in two and assist both riders equally, one would think.

Great ride by Pedrosa and i hope he recovers well and fast from his surgery. He had to ride hard to bridge the gap and did himself proud.

Lorenzo rode a cool, level headed race to take the win and i'm baffled that some viewers couldn't see Casey was doing the exact same thing as Lorenzo.

A side issue of the whole saga is why Stoner's bike wasn't running when he picked it up. Did Stoner shut it down to stop damage to the engine from running on its side or did it stop during the hit, fall and slide. If he shut it down to avoid the loss of an engine it is another example of the dubious engine rule affecting the result of the races.
Imagine how good it would have been to see both Stoner and Rossi climbing back through the field.
Is there any regulation calling for an automatic kill switch if a bike is on it's side for a certain period of time?

Per Stoner's comments, he hit the kill switch after the crash to prevent further damage. Whereas Rossi said he kept clutch in all the way, and he picked the bike up and was ready before the Marshalls run towards him.

It was really pity to see how desperate Rossi was under that bikes sliding. I was always thinking that he would find his way with Duke, but it turns out that would take some time if it won't fail at all.

I can't remember who was he, maybe Dovi, saying just after 5 laps "soft-soft" rain tires are totally worn out and they had to get slower each and every corner. JLo was smart to play it safe although it's still funny how he slides himself to that lake again!

Just two races but I'm already enjoying this season much as I was expecting it to be. Preziosi had told Rossi to wait. Well Mr.Filippo we all are waiting except Repsol brothers.

and keeping the level of decent commentary at the standard that draws decent fans of the sport to motomatters. No easy task in this emotion-charged atmosphere, but one that your all genuine mtm contributors understand completely and applaud.

Desperate. 2 races, 2 desperate moves by Rossi, he nearly took out the top 4 at Qatar with his lap 1 turn 1 banzai & this time he turns into a corner he was never going to make instead of taking the escape route.

This does bring up the question why WSBK requires bikes to have an automatic cut off switch but MotoGP doesnt.

If i'm not mistaken (and i may very well be), i think that WSBK-bikes still have electric starters.
I think i read or heard somewhere that most teams don't bother to remove the electric starters because they have problems reaching the minimum weight anyway.
But maybe i'm just confusing something.
If that would be the case, a mandatory auto kill-switch wouldn't make it as hard to restart the engine.

.... the difficult nature of humour in an international setting.

The phrase "ambition outweighing talent" is a common expression amongst the motorcycle community in Oz, usually uttered with some hubris after a rider has punched a hole in the scenery following their own error. I'm sure Burgess & Co have translated the phrase & its tenor to Rossi (amongst muffled giggles I'd expect) but I'd expect the non-Australian english speaking press to struggle to understand its pitch & what the Italian press will make of it I'm waiting to see.

In all a pretty good response by Stoner, confronted by the Rossi media circus with the man himself weirdly leaving his helmet on to apologise... what did he expect? Biaggi in the Repsol garage?

The old quote, "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking." jumps to mind.

Media circus indeed! I guess I'm sufficiently cynical to believe that Rossi's main goal was to be SEEN apologizing to Stoner. (Remember, this is Rossi. Everything he does is carefully premeditated.) If he wanted to issue a sincere "Sorry man, I f-'d up," he'd have left the helmet, the mob of reporters, and the damn cameras at the door. Stoner's a straight shooter, and I suspect (just my opinion!) that under those conditions he'd have quietly shaken VR's hand and been done with it. Instead, Valentino and his private parade storm in, and he immediately starts with the arm waving body language that screams, "Here I am, playing to the camera." Stoner was having none of it!

The problem Valentino Rossi has is that cameras follow him almost everywhere. Even if Rossi had wanted to apologize in private to Stoner, he would not have been able to. So makes it impossible to judge whether Rossi's apology to Stoner was sincere or not, as cameras were always going to follow Rossi into Stoner's garage, and Rossi knows that.

This does not mean that Rossi was using the media attention cynically to look good, nor does it mean that Rossi genuinely wanted to apologize. The impression I got was that Rossi felt genuinely bad about the crash and taking Stoner out. But judging the sincerity of the apology is impossible because of the circumstances Rossi made it under, through no fault of his own.

During the aussie f1 gp a couple of weeks ago mark was asked why he'd run off a couple of times during practice. "i ran out of talent" was the answer.

Just for the fun of things: Rossi has more points on a Ducati after two races in 2011 than Stoner had after two races in 2010.

Stoner 2010 after Qatar and Jerez - 11 points
Rossi 2011 after Qatar and Jerez - 20 points

They both binned it at least once but Rossi was the luckier one being able to finish both races. They both finished in 5th position in Jerez, the difference being 0 points for Stoner in Qatar and 9 points for Rossi in the desert.

Hayden outraced them both in Jerez finishing 4th in 2010 and 3rd in 2011. Good old Nicky:)

Draw as many conclusions as you like: to win on a Ducati you have to win it or bin it; Rossi is not so far off as may seem; Stoner is a much better rider than he is being given credit for; Ducati should stick with Nikcy as a second driver permanently..

One thing is for sure: Lorenzo had a blast last night - win in Spain, Rossi put to shame, Stoner put out of the race, team mate crashed. Just that pesky guy with number plate 26 he used to have fights with in 125cc didn't follow his perfect plan.

In the end don't you think it is a bit early for all this drama?

Well, just to add some more: had Rossi had won he would have been given a 10/10, Ducati would have had a bronze sculpture of Doctor cast in downtown Bologna and he would have been proclaimed eternal god of racing. But, behold he is just a man. Also, I can unfortunately already imagine how Rossi's fans will react when Stoner crashes in a race. And that will happen one day. More drama. Btw, does anyone know where was the last time he crashed out of race? Oh wait, Estoril...

Let's hope both riders will be less of a drama queens than their fan camps.

Thanks, David, for a balanced assessment in the face of the media spin that always comes from one particular corner of the MotoGP paddock.
Sete must be watching, thinking "I'm glad I'm away from all that crap", and wondering aloud at why there is always one common protagonist in these matters.

Your assessment is confirmed by a mate from my old club racing days (and one who always tells me I am too hard on Rossi, when I refer to him as Macchiavelli Rossi), who wrote:
""A lot on the line for Vali, riding a bike that Casey won on.
A C grader's mistake.
Stunning ride from Dani."

Covers it all, really, doesn't it.

"Rossi had whipped in the clutch to keep the engine of the Ducati running, but his leg had got caught under the bike. Once the marshals had extricated him from the tangle, Rossi could get back on his bike and get back underway"

Good balanced article but this part is problematic. There are several accounts that Rossi was well and truly out from under his bike and moving freely by the time marshalls arrived. He needed no special attention. I had one account from a person who was trackside. In photos you can see several of the marshalls grinning like schoolboys and patting Rossi on the back like it's more of a fan huddle than a racing emergency.

The reason Rossi stayed prone for so long (really not so long) was that he was trying to get free while also holding the clutch in to keep his bike running. I do think Rossi's first thought should have been to get to his feet and help Stoner - the rider he had wronged - rejoin the race first before attending to his own needs. Such things have been done in the past, but perhaps these sentiments belong to a bygone era of sportsmanship (and no, Rossi waltzing into Stoner's garage wearing full race kit with cameras in tow to mumble an apology through his chinguard is not an act of sportsmanship, it's the absolute minimum he could have done and not a very good job of it).

When Rossi is up against it he is extremely prone to selfish and rash behaviour - from his debatable behaviour at Laguna Seca to nearly ruining a Yamaha championship last year by barging at Lorenzo (I do believe Rossi jumped the start in that race, too). I think many of us having been waiting for Rossi's antics to cause a crash where he took out one of the other 'aliens'. Yes you can say others have made similar mistakes but he is a rider of great finesse and a nine times world champion. He really has very little to prove and while he's not expected to do anyone any favours, he should know better than to go barging about the track endangering the safety and race-winning chances of others. Stoner may shoot off at the mouth a bit but he rides a clean and respectful race (mention the Gibernau incident if you like but how old/experienced was Stoner when that happened compared with Rossi's age and experience as of yesterday?).

Rossi is very rarely called into question for anything, let alone penalised. He has an excessive, distortive influence on the sport and its following, so I heartily applaud Stoner for making some very good verbal jabs while keeping his fists to himself - something Rossi wasn't able to manage when he punched Biaggi, and whaddya know, Rossi didn't get penalised for that either.

To David:
Excellent article...I read it at work and wouldnt mind if I get fired for reading your site:Its THAT good!
To wazman:
Ouh came on...that aint Grandmothers birthday-its the King of the Hill of motorcycle motor racing(right after the Isle of man TT)!And when you talk about the Biaggi-incident, you should know that Biaggi pushed Vale off track at speeds above 200km/h (HE should have been penalised!) and Biaggi only received what he asked for during the stairway meeting.
Biaggi said during the following news conference"I was just stung by a mosqito"...now thats how you play it in MotoGP!
Rossi is there to win-not to be liked- and it does not matter to him how he is winning, as long as he does it!
Because the others dont have that right stuff he`s got, they dont have 9 titles...its easy like that! You need to be the same ruthless son of a gun like Vale to beat Vale and so far most attemps have failed.

Btw Rossi was crashed down by Toni Elias at the beginning of the 2006(or was it 2004?dontknow) season and that was at the end the deciding factor why VR lost the season...so he had its share of unluckyness as well.

Thanks for your reply. The fact that "it does not matter to Rossi how he wins" is exactly my point. People seem to buy into the idea that he can do whatever he wants as long as he takes the chequered flag. It's a sad day for motorcycle racing when people buy into that, as you appear to have done. Rossi is the sport's top ambassador and this is all that's expected of him? I'm not just talking about this race either, I'm talking about a pattern of behaviour.

"People seem to buy into the idea that he can do whatever he wants as long as he takes the chequered flag. It's a sad day for motorcycle racing when people buy into that, as you appear to have done."
I did my share of racing and I never ever experienced any real justice. Its an impossible thing to do, because you cant see all situations at all angles in the given time.
Just put yourself into the position of a race director for a minute and think about the incident again. Two riders crashed because one failed to get the braking right...both uninjured and back on track. Why should anybody get punished? It´s because most ppl are not objective about it but the race directors job is exactly this.Vale is in the racing for so long its no wonder that he was in a lot of difficult situations allready and therefore it is understandable that ppl tend to give him a bad reputation about it. If Casey or Lorenzo were racing for a living since 1996 they would have had a similar reputation I think.
All great champions have their history with disputable maneuvers I believe,just think about Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz or Wayne Rainey ect.
Just my 2 cents...I dont "buy into things" and thank god there is an objective site like Motomatters.

Laguna Seca was one of the best races of recent memory. I like to watch the lead changing hands multiple times between two riders on the very limit - not a F1 style dash from pole position to a 20+ second gap.

Still, I guess it depends what you're into or who you support.

I'd take Laguna Seca ten times out of ten (regardless of who the riders exchanging the lead were) than some of the processional snore-fests we've been treated to over the last couple of years

Hi first post in this site.
Been lurking for ages and thought it about time say hi.
Firstly David loving the site. Kinda nice having a site that offers some sort of persective on the races not just rider quotes and race results.
Just on this issue...
Oh actually I dont think there is really an issue.
Rossi crashed taking out Stoner. Rossi's at fault
Stoner got mad and started pointing fingers. Stoner's at fault
Rossi just made a mistake it's not like he meant to take Stoner out and Stoner is human, of course he's gonna be angry.
So what the big deal???
To be honest kinda knew it was gonna happen. No way you can ride that pace in those conditons and if Stoner didn't act like he did he wouldnt be Stoner.

The only issue is only 12 bikes finished :(

Having just re-watched the incident with extreme care, it is obvious that Rossi had both feet on the ground clear of the bike before any of the marshalls arrived at his bike. He was bent over the bike holding the clutch, and it is not unreasonable for the marshalls to have initially considered he may have been caught up in some way - however the entire pack went to his bike rather than splitting the responsibilities between the two riders.

Leaving any questions of favouritism, or perhaps more accurately a touch of star-struck desire to be the ones to help Rossi, from a simple point of track safety they were ignoring the position of the other rider directly in line with any further off by a following rider. Given that the track conditions would have hidden any problems of oil / petrol on the track as a result of the coming together - as happened last year in a moto2 race - that alone was a damn poor effort.

It was a very poor effort. They gathered around Rossi like a flock of seagulls would if Rossi had chips.
Only a day after stoner gave them (assuming they were the same marshals) a big thanks for assisting him out of the same gravel trap.

umm yes, marshals job is to get the riders either off or up safely on track. First thing is to get them upright, Casey was, Rossi wasn't. Rossi didn't stall, Casey turned his engine off.. Marshalls or not it's completely reasonable to see why Rossi got away first especially considering that even with help, Casey couldn't bump his bike, or was he expecting them to run up the track for a 100 yards pushing him and risk another incident?.. Though no doubt Casey was unlucky with the original crash, it was Rossi fault. One thing is for certain, had Casey not stalled his bike, he would have been away comfortably before Rossi and still got good points possibly finishing no further back than he would have without the fall with hindsight, though that is only speculation at best.

Rossi was already well and truly upright when the marshalls reached him. This has been well established, so let's please dispense with that little myth that they 'had to help Vale because he was on the ground'. The marshalls seemed more interested in being able to touch the feted Valentino Rossi than any of their actual duties.

Rossi only spent those few seconds on the ground because he was trying to hold the clutch in while pulling his leg out at the same time. And I say again, he was well clear by the chubby marshalls huffed and puffed their way through the sandtrap.

Soz, wazman, I meant the bikes not riders, apologies.... It would be rather lax of the marshals to pick the riders up and leave the bikes on track..:-)

It does sound like the Honda is a bitch to start but the marshalls didn't make much effort either. Maybe Stoner should tow a self-starting unit around with him from now on! Jokes aside, a terrible situation for Stoner, he is now looking at probably five races of things going absolutely perfectly for him before he even catches up. Undeserved.

All (8 of them)the marshalls were walking away after helping VR on his way. Casey was left standing there on his stalled bike while the marshalls were leaving the track, they only came back after CS called them back.
If he didnt call them he would of been left stranded on the track.
Thought there job was to clear the area, not dance around Val.

And that is the critical point: even if there wasn't some sort of favoritism, the marshals left a disabled bike on track. A dangerous situation for the rider as well as those still on the track.

I can assure you that if you stood next to a MotoGP bike you would hear it running regardless of the background noise of some other passing bikes. And if you were deaf you would be able to feel it.

1.just a racing thing, stuff happens
2.the marshals - I don't think it was about Rossi at all, Stoner is the only realistic chance of a non Spanish world champ this year, so let him sit there
3.if you are having a meaningful conversation with someone, you take off your sunglasses (or, in this case, helmet)
4.great race for both the Spaniards
5.heartily agree with previous poster - no marshals to help anyone get going!

Cluzel took out Marquez in a very similar incident (same corner, too hot into the turn) in the Moto2 race? Obviously the profile of the riders is very different, and the stakes aren't the same but, is it really such a big deal?

Elias took out Rossi in Jerez 2006 in the same corner. He then went on to beat him in Estoril at the back-end of the season. You could say that essentially, Elias cost Rossi the title. Its racing and it happens.

I think we should all be celebrating how much better the racing is looking this year with the mixing-up and team changes of the Aliens and the improvement of the follwing group (Dovi, Sic, Spies...). The other stuff seems gossip to me.

Anyone saw Pedrosas pass on Spies in the Sito corner?
No comments on the pace Rossi had in the wet?

Come on guys he has been struggling with the Duke since the beggining and all of sudden come some rain the guy is in full contention. Nothing to talk about there?

Yes, was that the one where Dani went around the outside of...I thought it was Lorenzo, must of been a different pass. But yes we should be posting about other things that happened too, like also how the tyres looked at the end.
But it seems that whatever Rossi does good or bad, gets all the attention.

I do not think Soner's comments are offensive. I am glad he said that. Everyone is too sensitive when it is about Rossi. That dive into the corner deserves the criticism for anyone. I think the media is often too soft on Rossi. I am not pointing out to you David. I always appreicate your work and enjoy reading your staffs. Somehow, I get the impression that Rossi never was criticised generally for whatever he said or did. I do not say the pointless bashing to any rider is good, but the media is so pro Rossi like it is taboo to write anything negative about him. If it was Lorenzo, he will be bombed with bashing. But then, I guess the media is indrectly making JL and Stoner...tougher.

I've found an interesting fan video on youtube


While I agree that Marshalls where a bias (to Rossi or against Stoner), the first ones to arrive came from the front of Rossi (being closer to him) and they reach him less than a second before he gets out of the bike (maybe they didn't give ti such a cold headed long though as we do).
Also they begin gathering around Casey before Rossi sets off, rossi even has a little trouble with the sand trap and they don´t push him.
There are like 4 second between their help for Rossi and for Casey, while for the race this is massive, for reaction of not so trained people it´s not that much.
It look to me that they simply where not to keen on pushing A bike.
Also if you look at the video had Casey´s engine been running both of them would have set of at the same time (actually Casey would have set off first).

Words can't describe...

One Marshall fell down trying to push Casey's bike. Unless the Marshalling rules are explained to us, we may not know the complete details. Maybe they thought Casey had the speed to start it and they backed off.

After this incident with the bump starts it would be a good idea for the manufacturers to describe what it takes to bump start, i.e. one bike is more difficult to start. Then again with everyone trying to preserve engines they have to cut the engine off, vs. Rossi pulled the clutch (granted being stuck to the bike allowed this), Casey might have done the same had he been able to stay with the bike.

Looking at the overhead shot on the official video you can see a patch of water (more so than other places) where Rossi slips.

I find it strange that people would suggest that it is not a big deal to run down another rider with a very questionable pass attempt. I believe in this instance Rossi was completely in the wrong in every way possible.

1) His pass was bad 2) He was unsportsmanlike, the wronged party showed more sporting behaviour by running over and removing his bike from Rossi, as a viewer it looked like his first thought was of Rossi's safety as he was pinned between two bikes. Once Stoner realised he was fine, Stoner tried to get help to start his bike, but the marshal's were busy fawning over Rossi. 3) Rossi could have at least insisted the marshal's help Stoner, but he did not care as his bike was going, off he rode. 4) The apology was an absolute farce, helmet on and not even the decency to ask Stoner if they could have a private word. 5) Stoner handing him a couple of snide remarks and then accepting his apology makes Stoner the bad man how?

The fact that Stoner is receiving any grief over this incident has really baffled me, I can understand mud slinging and playing up to the media, but this incident is beyond a joke. I always enjoyed the Rossi - Stoner rivalry, but not anymore. I now think Rossi just gets way to much slack, there are multiple world champs in other sports that will never be afforded the protection and bias that Rossi is served. It is a little sickening actually and does nothing to raise the profile of MotoGP outside of its already established fanbase.

Yes, Rossi does receive far too much slack from media, fans and Dorna. I've been saying that ever since his primadonna tantrums over the tyres in 2007... I'm glad to see that more and more fans are starting to agree with me.

agree with your perspective have always been the silent majority.................

The " cartelization " of Moto GP has elevated Rossi to their #1 cash cow, thus their blinkered view of his marginal behaviour on track.

Which is unfortunate, he is acquiring a Senna/Schumacher'esque
image, which demeans his sublime talent.

...a wrench (called "Truth", with a capital "T") into the the ravings of The Simpsons' "Comic Book Guy". We members of MM have become increasingly tired of-and vocal about-the degradation of our website at the hands of the refugee trolls from Crash, et al. Your Truth certainly won't mollify them, but it might quiet them down enough to let the real members get back to having intelligent, respectful, and reality-based discourse.

I agree with the Truth of the matter. Whether or not I agree with it ultimately doesn't matter, because Truth is not dependent on me to believe it. Having said that, the Truth is either that:

1) Rossi pulled a desperate move that was a case of his desire to win being greater than the physical grip available. Another way of putting this would be to say that his ambition exceeded his talent.

2) Rossi was actually aware of over-cooking the corner, was going to run through it, and his escape route was inadvertently blocked by Stoner being magnanimous, accomodating, and mature by giving him room to pass (he assumed that this must be the case), so that a crash was avoided. He was preserving his tires, so he knew that he could probably pass Rossi back later on.

One of these two (or a combination of the two) is what actually happened.

What we have here is one racer who is clearly the fastest right now, and one who, for the last decade, has won everything that can be won, and whose desire to win is always at the forefront, regardless of the situation. A rainy race at Donington in 2008 comes to mind.

BOTH of these racers plainly say that this was a racing incident. Period. Full stop. We MM members understand that they are more qualified as experts than we are, therefore we accept their opinions as being more informed than our own. For the haters and trolls and Comic Book Guys, they have their own opinions, and when the actual men involved in the skirmish (or the actual Moto GP-class peers of the men involved) call this a racing incident, the conspiracy theorists/haters place their own opinions above those of the professionals. It is worth saying AGAIN that winning is THE goal, not crashing. There is glory in beating another competitor, but not by having you and him both leave the race with a DNF. Stoner knows that Rossi didn't want a double DNF for the two of them. Please.

If there was a conspiracy theory, and if Rossi wanted to take Stoner out, then it must also be true that in HURTING Stoner, he also wanted to HELP someone else. So, play it out to its logical conclusion. If Rossi wanted to crash Stoner out (and himself), then that means Rossi knows that that would mean benefiting one or more of the other top riders, of which there is Lorenzo and Pedrosa. So that would mean that Rossi has some kind of secret pact/agreement/marriage/"life partner" with Pedrosa or Lorenzo. Again, absolutely ridiculous, but if one is meant to be HURT (including oneself), then others will be necessarily HELPED.

To say that ANY racer wants to win a race by crashing out and taking another racer out in the process...is like believing that the way to cure the common cold is to go out and lick the seat of a public toilet.

As far as the marshals are concerned, save it. They were pushing Stoner closer to the racing line, Rossi's bike was still going, etc. I don't care. The race was lost. Stoner and Rossi wanted to WIN, which was done and dusted after the crash. The CRASH (and its cause) is the issue, and the racers have declared what caused it.

Again, it's nice to see some reason and Truth prevail, instead of (to plagiarize Monty Python) the low-rent, neanderthal, blinkered, Philistine, pig-ignorant ravings that have become something of the (wholly regrettable) norm these days.

This race certainly was one of the more exciting offerings of late, and I hope we have more of the same...minus all the carnage.

Crimson, you are getting more funny by the post. I agree with you.

"To say that ANY racer wants to win a race by crashing out and taking another racer out in the process...is like believing that the way to cure the common cold is to go out and lick the seat of a public toilet."

That statement may hold true for motorcycle racing and 99% of other forms of motorsports, but unfortunately it is all too common in Formula 1.

Prost - Senna at Suzuka in 1989
Prost - Senna at Suzuka in 1990
Hill - Schumacher at Adelaide in 1994

I bet I can cite some more examples if I put my mind to it. In any case, you are correct that no racer wants to win so badly that he would intentionally crash into someone else. Team orders and blocking? Maybe. But to win by crashing is a black mark that no driver or rider wants to live with.

...and occasional unsavory practices like that. In my opinion, it is THE most political form of racing, too. I definitely DO take your point, and yes, they sometimes crash if they are ahead in the points and want to keep another competitor/foe from scoring any points. That said, they still face ENORMOUS odds of breaking their own brittle machines, so crashing someone else out usually means a DNF for yourself.

Yes, it IS done occasionally in F1, but intentionally crashing on a bike, when you have no safety cell, 5, 6, 7, or 12-point harnesses to keep you in place...just isn't something done by guys who have nothing but some kangaroo skin, styrofoam/polystyrene, plastic, and carbon fiber to protect them from serious injury or death. It would mean risking serious injury or death, and it means that you DEFINITELY will not be winning the race. Definitely not "the done thing".

A very well executed and clinical race run by himself, Dani and the American riders. I had to feel for Ben and Colin. The Rossi incident really messed up a potentially epic battle between George and Casey for the race win. It was apparent early on that they were settling into a conservative rythm before going at it hammer and tongs later if necessary and able.
Rossi on the other hand was clearly out to exploit the conditions and in his 'ambitious' assault on the leaders messed up a potentially classic battle and the rest is history.
The post race face to face was a storm in a teacup.
Rossi doing his usual spin doctor bit for the media and Stoner giving him a well deserved verbal slap in the helmet.
Lorenzo when questioned about it had a very well thought out response.Saying it was clearly a racing incident that could have happened to himself aswell,but did express a sentiment that Casey got the short end of the stick from the marshalls, making no minor allusion to favouritsm being a problem.
The sad thing for Stoner is that the DNF has really hurt his title aspirations.Lorenzo is not going to be easy to close down at the upcomming races.Pedrosa will be tough to beat aswell.
Then again such is the nature of racing and it can all turn 180 in Estoril.
I won't lose too much sleep about it and neither will Stoner.
Rossi is obviously feeling the heat of expectation and hence the errors in judgement. Not for him to be on track and not have the cameras following the lead action without him.
I was really hoping he would get by Casey cleanly and get into a crashfest with his mate Simmo.
Anyway,I enjoyed George's 2nd unplanned excursion into the lake.Yes,second unplanned venture.The first time it was a euphoric error in judgement,this time,well, he had to be part of the slip off fest sometime.Glad it was after he won.

...on that last sentence. Good stuff. Luckily, he doesn't have a broken tailbone to hinder his title hopes. Besides, on the first race where Dani and Casey do what they SHOULD (by all indications) do by going 1-2 (likely next race), that'll be 9 points Casey makes up. 20 points shouldn't be difficult to make up in relatively short order, especially given Casey's talent and machinery.

Great read, having been there I can empathise with most of your commentary.

Sadly this is the last time I read or contribute to the comments on the site though, it's become far too much like Crash.net. The intelligent comments being far outweighed by those lacking anything nearing that.

I've been saying the same thing. Read on, as some poor, uninformed soul literally accused David of lying and making up the story to try and excuse the marshals.

REAL MM members don't say things like that OR the feces that has been cluttering up the comments lately. Hopefully, they'll slither back to their holes. The sooner, the better.

Stoner's comment's with a smile on his face where so uncalled for. Questioning the 9 time World Champion's talent... you gotta be out of your mind... But what about the Spanish Umbrella girls... hot hot hot...!!!


Perfectly written, unbiased, truthful, and eloquent.

While I didn't agree with the choice of words from Casey, maybe he could have said something more on the joking side like, "I told you the front has problems" Either way I love Rossi, but truly appreciate Stoner's talent as well. I hope that 5-10 years from now they can both look back and laugh and enjoy as friends. Like Schwantz and Rainey (used to hate each other) but get on just fine nowadays.

Rossi made a great point too about the Bridgestone wet tires (only a soft version) available and it would have been ideal to have a hard version after seeing those tires on Lorenzo's and Hayden's bikes. Pedrosa's weren't looking as bad.

Bring on Estoril! Hopefully Ducati get some more things sorted so the GP11 can be competing for a podium spot.

Guys . . . I didin't realize that Moto GP was a chruch social and you had to be 'nice', while racing a 230 hp machine @ over 200 mph? Nice has NOTHING to do with it! Rossi made a mistake . . . any of you ever make 'a mistake'? I'll bet you that some that are crucifing Rossi, or 'other racers', for making mistakes on track have NEVER EVER been in ANY type of competition and dealt with PRESSURE! I use to race . . . made plenty of mistakes. I played amateur golf, won a few tournaments, but also gagged/choked in numerous tournaments! I was on the US Long Range Shooting team, and competed at the World Long Range Shooting Championships, in England in '03 . . . When the 'PRESSUE' is on, mistakes will be made, even by a 9 time WC!

2ndly . . . Rossi is a 9 time WC! His resume says it ALL! I love Stoner . . . got a big bet on him winning it all this year! In fact, I love ALL the racers in Moto GP and was excited as hell when Simo was leading . . . but no one, in Moto GP, @ this point, can hold a candle to Rossi resume! When Stoner, or Lorenzo, or Dani, or Spies, or (pencil a name) has 3+ WC, let us start to compare them to Rossi.

Any of you guys excited about watching Marquez in Moto 2? Hopefully, he won't crash/be taken out in the next race.

OK, I'm done.

Hello all,

This is my first post here and I thank you David for providing an island of objectivity in a sea of partisan dross. However, I don't fully agree with you regarding the apparent negative effects of Stoner's comments on fans. Anyone that gets offended by said comment is most likely a Rossi fan and will view anything Stoner does in a negative light anyway.

WC - your comment sums up the logical disconnect apparent in most Rossi fans view of this incident.

You say the MotoGP is not a church, that is just a racing incident. This is a fair comment.

However, you then appear to take some umbrage at Stoner's comments to Rossi, which on the face of it appear to be true. If Rossi's talent had exceeded his ambition for that move, he must of crashed on purpose? I agree with you, MotoGP is not a church... with this being the case, why are people getting so prissy about what Stoner says?? It appears that for some people it is a church social if anyone dares to criticise Rossi.

" ... Rossi is a 9 time WC! His resume says it ALL! . . . but no one, in Moto GP, @ this point, can hold a candle to Rossi resume! When Stoner, or Lorenzo, or Dani, or Spies, or (pencil a name) has 3+ WC, let us start to compare them to Rossi."

2 of the 4 you mention have at least 3 WC's. I get tired of reading the 9 times WC bit ... he has 7 in the 500/MotoGP era. I never hear anyone reference '3 times WC Dani Pedrosa' or '5 times WC Max Biaggi' ... even Andrew Pitt can put a "2 times WC next to his name".

Seems since Rossi hasn't been able to dominate like he did in the early 2000's there a bit a desperation in his riding. In the past I would have expected him to shadow, take his time and force the other rider to make the mistake, instead of just shoving it up the inside at that point in the race. He clearly had the pace and there were plenty of laps left before needing to resort to a pass like that. I do believe it was a racing incident, but Vale has too much experience to make mistakes like that. He needs to settle down, take a deep breath and set things up better next time.

As far a Marshals, I was concerned seeing those guys on the track. After helping one down rider(can't remember which one) the marshal ran across the track. That seems like a good way to get killed and take a rider with you...

Hats off to you! Thats a very good explanation of the incedent.

I'm sure many did not know of the difficulty bump starting the Honda and a few other details

thank you! for your insight.

It's obvious that race fans see this incident differently depending if you are a fan of Valentino or Casey. However, having volunteered in the corners myself on occasion, I highly doubt the marshal's were consciously taking sides to affect the outcome of the race. I'm also rather surprised at how much disdain there is for Rossi.

Yeah, it's amazing how many people keep making stuff up just to excuse the marshals. Really amazing to see the same thing happening here also.
Rossi was up on his own feet when marshals reached the two riders. All seven of them swarm around Rossi and petting him on the back, while Stoner was ignored, waiting for some help to push him on.
I do enjoy reading your blog but please stop making up stuff like this: "Once the marshals had extricated him from the tangle, Rossi could get back on his bike and get back underway."
The scene is all over the internet, don't be one of those that spread the confusion around.

I did not necessarily mean that Rossi was being removed from under the pile of bikes, merely that he was assisted in getting his bike up. I do try to get things right, but I am not infallible, and can sometimes choose to phrase things in ways which might be interpreted in different ways. My apologies for the confusion.

I am surprised that there hasn't been more discussion about the role the control tyres played in this race. David, is there any chance of seeing how the front wets looked after the race? After all , the crashes were all front end tucks and we all saw how trashed the rears were. It is amazing that any of those guys made it to the end of the race. Has there been any confirmation that Colin suffered an engine siezure? If so that will have greatly concerned all the Yamaha runners.

Ironic, it seems that the fancy new clutches that give the Hondas .8 seconds per lap make it impossible to bump start on a wet track...

And oh yes, Rossi is definitely in desperation mode, on the tail end of his talent and career. Sad actually... Sort of like the way Biaggi runs off the track repeatedly, and then comes back on the track with no concern for his fellow riders. I seem to remember from the riders meeting when I raced, "Don't make your bad luck someone elses..."

I got a laugh at Stoner's comments about 'talent vs ambition' . . . it was perfect! I LOVE Stoner! His talent is . . . well, I honestly believe that he is the fastest rider in Moto GP! When Rossi gets the Duc 'up & running' . . . . . .

Rossi is riding under the huge weight of the expectations of the Italian media, his signing with Ducati was greeted with similar excitment as would the second coming. A rookie mistake from Rossi, but understandable.

Whilst the incident is a hot topic. I am surprised first and a little disappointed second, that no one has managed to comment on both Caseys lack of pace considering his wet weather ability and ability to ride round issues, and Rossi's incredible pace on the ducati as fast as I ever saw Casey on it. From the end of the 23 lap to the end of the 22 lap Rossi went from 1.8 seconds behind Simo in 4th with Stoner at the front, to right on Stoners tail in 3rd making the pass on Jorge and upwards of two seconds in one lap. Can't help thinking if the roles were reversed Casey would have gained high praise for his pace and tearing through the pack and Rossi been called a has been for being so slow on what is a great motorcycle..

I went over that in great detail in this article. The short story is that the Ducatis ate their tires early, so Ducati riders had to push hard in the early part of the race, while the Hondas had to be careful with the tires in the early part, and only really picked up the pace in the 2nd half of the race. It is highly instructive to compare lap times on the Analysis By Lap chart for the race over on MotoGP.com. In summary, you can't compare Rossi and Stoner's lap times early in the race.

OK, I should have said that Rossi has '7 premier' titles vs the others ONE premier title! Sorry I didn't clarify that! When Stoner and Lorenzo has 3+ 'premier' class WC, maybe we can start comparing 'talent'. As a journalist said about the one and only Jack Nicklaus, decades ago, getting on top is rather easy . . . STAYING ON TOP is very difficult! As has been stated, Rossi is under immense pressure, to not only win on the Duc, but win a WC on the Duc! And he is finding that the beast is a very fickle animal! Seems Stoner talent is greater then he even thought.

As I've said numerous times on this site, I'm a motorcycle racing 'fanboy' and want to see hard/tight racing! I'd loved to have seen the race, in total, w/out the crash, but . . . crashing & racing go together! I don't really care who wins (OK, I DO have some favorites!) and would have loved to see Simo win his first, but alas that didn't happen.

I want Rossi to get the Duc running w/the Honda's & Yamaha's because the racing would be epic. SO, yes, I'm rooting for him to succeed!!! And I've got a sizeable bet on Stoner winning the WC this year!

It is true you cannot compare Rossi and Stoner pre 800cc era. Rossi dominated for many years but Stoner did not race against him as a true competitor pre 2007 (a rookie on a satellite bike is not comparable to full factory IMO).

But comparison on full factory during the 800cc era is easy.

WC 1st place - 2
WC 3rd place - 2
Wins 21

WC 1st place - 1
WC 2nd place - 1
WC 4th place - 2
Wins 24

I think that comparison gives Stoner the right to question Rossi on his ambition vs talent.