2012 Mugello MotoGP Sunday Round Up: On Great Race Tracks, Great Racers, Ducati, And Spies

Great tracks produce great racing, even in the MotoGP class, where the combination of fuel limits, extremely advanced electronics and stiff Bridgestone tires mean that the way to win races is by being absolutely inch-perfect on every lap. And Mugello is a great track, there is no doubt of that, despite the fact that the usual Mugello atmosphere had been muted by a combination of a dismal Italian economy and sky-high ticket prices at the circuit, the only way for the circuit to recoup some of the sanctioning fee it must pay Dorna to run the race. The hillsides were very sparsely populated, perhaps in part a result of the total Spanish domination of qualifying, putting three Spaniards on the front row in MotoGP, and another two on the Moto3 and Moto2 poles as well.

The Italian fans that stayed away missed not only some great races, but also some sterling performances from local Italian riders. There were Italians on the podium in all three classes, even one Italian winner, Andrea Iannone winning the Moto2 race. The people sitting at home who had intended to fill those empty grandstands may well have regretted not going.

The Moto3 race turned into a war of attrition, with the best riders left at the end. Maverick Vinales proved he is the class of the field taking another convincing win, while Sandro Cortese clung on to third, scoring solid points for the championship, and making the most out of a weekend when the bike wasn't fast enough to give him the edge. The championship is coming down to a straight fight between the sheer talent of Vinales and the guile and cunning of Cortese. It is turning into a very nice little fight.

The star of Moto3 was Romano Fenati, however. After a few tough weekends, the Italian youngster showed once again that what he is mainly missing is experience. Learning his way round tracks he has never seen before, in conditions which are usually mixed, with little dry track time, is hard and easily overlooked. Fenati is coming along nicely, and should be a genuine title contender next season.

In Moto2, Andrea Iannone pulled out one of his usual brilliant rides, taking victory from Pol Espargaro after the Spaniard had dominated all throughout practice. Iannone stalked the front group, waited his chance and then pounced, conserving tires for the part of the race he wanted them. That is the kind of maturity which Iannone has often been missing, but he will need to show it more often if he is to make progress. Iannone's problem is that although he is in with a shot of winning 10 races a year, he is often nowhere in the other 7, inexplicably finishing outside the top 10. Whether Iannone's maturity is permanent or temporary will be the key to the rest of his career.

Though Pol Espargaro's injured ankle may have played a minor role in the outcome, he seemed pretty unaffected by it during the race. The foot was badly swollen on Saturday night, yet a bit of magic from the Clinica Mobile and a lot of courage and determination from Espargaro put the Spaniard on the podium, benefiting also from Marc Marquez struggles to stay in the top 5. Espargaro got 9 points back at Mugello; the title fight is still very much open.

In the MotoGP class, there was plenty of action in the race, though the winner was obvious from the beginning. Jorge Lorenzo had dominated proceedings to such an extent that his teamboss Wilco Zeelenberg had tried to get him to relax a little. Lorenzo had done four race distances at race pace, Zeelenberg said, nearly exhausting himself in the practice. "There's no need to do lots of 1'47s during qualifying," Zeelenberg said. "Just one fast lap is more than enough."

It was the style of his victor which most impressed, the Spaniard putting on a peerless display of fast, smooth riding, while keeping your concentration at 100% for 45 whole minutes. So far this season, barring the accident caused by Alvaro Bautista, Jorge Lorenzo's worst finish in 2nd. That will take a lot of beating this season.

Behind Lorenzo, the racing was pretty good, with Dovizioso dicing first with Pedrosa, and then with Stefan Bradl for most of the race. Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow joined the party too, but only right at the very end of the race. Places - and paint - was swapped in the effort to score a podium, providing decent spectacle for most of the race.

Paint swapping went on further back down the field, when a frustrated Casey Stoner made a tough pass on Alvaro Bautista, only for Bautista to close the line on the Australian. The two riders touched, Stoner's front wheel painting Gresini's leathers, and Bautista getting shoved off the line for his pains. Though Stoner expressed his apologies to Bautista for the pass after the race, Bautista was not inclined to listen, flipping Stoner the bird on the cooldown lap as the bikes headed back to the pits.

Naturally, incidents involving one of the most loved (Nicky Hayden) and least loved (Casey Stoner) was bound to generate debate, but what was surprising was the black-and-white opinions on both moves. The fans were mainly behind Hayden, yet attacked Stoner for putting a similar move on Bautista. The fact that no action was taken by Race Direction was seen by some as a sign of inconsistency and weakness, by others as a sensible decision, to ensure that riders don't become too scared to pass. Hayden's move on Bradl on the last lap was very aggressive, but Bradl immediate gave back as good as he got. Stoner's move on Bautista was not so much aggressive as overly optimistic, trying to outbrake Bautista on the inside at a corner where Bautista was coming back onto the line.

To me, all these moves were just race incidents, with riders taking an extra chance when it counts. The moves were hard and aggressive, but all the riders involved left the other party in the fight with enough room on the track to survive. There was room to pass, and room to avoid the pass, and nobody was run off the track. If any of these passes had been penalized by Race Direction, that would have been the thin end of a very slippery slope leading towards an era where top-flight riders are told when and where they can overtake.

The mood at Ducati was positive for once, though neither man was particularly well satisfied with their position. Nicky Hayden believed he had a shot at podium, which is why he tried the aggressive pass on Brad. He came to his press debrief looking rather depressed, despite having had a good race. Hayden had lost some time fiddling with his fuel maps, looking for the right one to prevent the rear tire from spinning quite so badly. He found one which he liked, and used that one to run down the fight for the podium. He was not going to settle 5th, however. Hayden kept his eyes on the prize of his first podium of the year, and failed while trying to achieve it.

The best news for Hayden, though, was the fact that he was 2 seconds a lap faster than his times from last year. There are real signs of progress at Ducati, though, the bike still needs help to make the engine more rideable, and something to cure the chronic understeer which the bike has suffered from its inception.

Rossi, too, believed he had the pace for the podium. His problem, however, is that he and his crew cannot get up to speed on the soft qualifying tire, leaving him struggling well down the grid. Race pace for the Italian was pretty strong, but the first few laps on fresh tires made it hard to follow the group leaving at the start. With new parts to be tested on Monday, things are starting to look up every so slightly for Ducati.

Seeing Andrea Dovizioso on the podium immediately raised the question of Ben Spies, and why Yamaha are still considering keeping him. That judgement should not be made on the grounds of Spies' Mugello performance, for a quick glance at the timesheet tells you something wrong. Spies had been suffering from food poisoning during the race, the Texan having dizzy spells and an inability to focus. Spies' lapchart varies wildly, times dipping into the 1'48s one minute then dropping to 1'53s a few laps later. That is not the lapchart of a normal, healthy man, and it's clear that Spies was anything but. One day, Spies' luck will change; it is merely a question of when. He really needs it to happen as soon as possible.

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I didnt find Nickys pass on Bradl particularly aggressive, Bradl returning the favor was interesting because his success was dependent on Nicky not wanting to taste the litter before Ducatis home crowd.

Hayden made a great pass on Bradl. It was good to see Nicky saying "screw it." Let's hope the new Ducati brass think the same. Hayden could've just brought it home in 5th ahead of both Rossi and Crutchlow and called it the best race of the season. I admire him for making the push for the podium.

Let's hope the new Ducati brass think the same.

No idea what you mean by that. Maybe that Ducati ought to ignore 4 solid years of Hayden's mediocrity (which I've documented before) after he finished 7th in this race? That does not make a lot of sense to me.

I admire him for making the push for the podium.

I would hope Hayden is 'pushing for the podium' every race; that's his job. The unfortunate part is ... the vast majority of the time he's nowhere close.

I admit he gets an 'A' for effort, not to mention likeability. But he definitely does not deserve another factory contract in MotoGP.

David, here in Canada we are stuck with viewing MotoGP only on Speed channel, which is truly awful- the first 10 minutes we get a recap of the MotoGP scene and then we don't get to see the podium or the post race interviews, however there is a lot of advertising. There was brief mention of Michelle Pirro being black flagged, but never told why. Could you please enlighten us?
With your comparison of the Hayden/Bradl and Stoner/Bautista passes I saw it quite differently. I did not think the Hayden/Bradl passes to be anything more than normal racing, however Stoner's move on Bautista seemed to be borne of frustration at not being able to easily pass, what I saw was iether a very poorly judged move or a deliberate "barging" of Bautista-sort of "how dare you hold me up" thing.
Your point is well taken that Race Direction must be careful or real racing may be inhibited and I understand. However-if Bautista had made that move on Stoner, I shudder to think of the consequences. Before the Stoner fans get their knickers in a knot - I think Stoner possesses tremendous talent (obviously) but discredits himself with knocking others then doing similar things himself. Not really helping his legacy.

Pirro was black flagged because he entered the pits from the back side, closed entrance cutting off much of the lap. When he left he had essentially cut half a lap, hence the black flag.

I agree with your view on the Hayden and Stoner passes. Exactly how I saw it as well.

Watching on Speed is painful. I have only been watching for as long as I have been able to watch it online, about 8 years now. I don't have TV anyway but if I did I would still watch it online.

David, I've been actively following Motogp since the mid 90's and used to be far more passionate and involved than I am now, but I can't remember when race control started to become so actively involved in racing incidents. Same as for F1, when suddenly you started waking up the next day to discover driver a suddenly was demoted several places for an incident that barely warranted a mention.

I saw Stoner's pass on Alvaro and likewise thought it was just a racing incident from a rider clearly frustrated but also faster. The issue is, Stoner has painted himself to be against such moves, yet twice in the same weekend has been involved in incidents that don't reflect well on him. Likewise last year with RdP and the many weekends of the head shaking and bird giving from previous years. Does he have anyone around him brave enough to advise him that perhaps his issues with the media and some of the more boorish elements of Motogp fans might in some way be self inflicted?

Rightly or wrongly, Stoner is perceived by many many Motogp fans as someone who complains a lot, maintains that he doesn't care what people think, but then goes on to complain about those people. He's a difficult man to understand from that perspective.

The last rider I clearly recollect that divided opinion so much was Max. Max really didn't care what people thought. He also didn't seem to complain about other riders, just the bikes and the team! But I follow him closely in WSBK and seeing his Twitter exchanges the last few days with Tom Sykes, he really does seem to have mellowed a little (though still clearly a complex character). Can you imagine the workout the Motogp.com ticker bar would have got during the Sete, Rossi, Biaggi years in the early to mid 2000's? No race result would be declared safe until the next day. Personally, I preferred those times, when the racers seemed to sort out their issues either on the track or in a stairwell....See, even then, Rossi won that fight, but Biaggi came out the much bigger man and made Rossi look really quite poor.

How did Rossi look poor in comparison to Max? MAx complained that his Hondas weren't ever as good as Rossi's (Rossi even offered to switch!). Then Max finally got to the Repsol( Nicky's teamate) team ;after underperforming he blamed the bikes again. After that season he wasn't able to get a ride even with tobacco money ( he tried Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda). Just for your edification, research Max's relationship with Hayden and some of the really unsafe encounters he tried with Nicky during practice,etc. Max comes across as a 'baby'.

"This is motorcycle racing, not ballroom dancing..."

That was some aggressive, but clean racing. Stoner was a little optimistic thinking he could have just squeezed himself into a disappearing gap, but if he hadn't tried when he thought there was a chance then he wouldn't be a racer. Bautista has the right to be a little shaken, but he should also be the last one to complain about over ambitious passing attempts.

Jorge is really looking, and riding, like true a champion. His consistency is metronomic to say the least. Him and Casey are both the fastest men in the field, but where sometimes Stoner can pull out one or two wonder laps, Lorenzo has the ability to ride 1% slower but do it for every single lap of the race. Impressive stuff, and in this game it's what really wins world championships.

The Ducati's are looking a little better, but their performance at Mugello is always a bit deceiving. The bikes test there a lot, and one could argue that their design is optimized for that track. Long straights and sweeping corners is where the Duc's really excel. I do hope that the newer engine spec will help them with aggressive tire wear and better pick-up from a closed throttle. Though it sounds a bit weird to say (since these are top level GP machines) Ducati's bikes are too aggressive. In the end I can't help but feel that until they get that understeer in check they won't make the massive step forward they really need. On a side note, it's always inspiring to see Mr. Hayden making up for his equipments deficiencies by riding with a lot of heart.

Bradl is really starting to sneak up into impressive status. Quietly and efficiently chipping away at a set of very good results for a rookie in his first year. This class is the cream of the crop and he's proving himself very worthy of hanging with out with his classmates.

Ben Spies. Man. I just keep thinking there is something missing here. The results don't do his talent justice and management in Japan knows this. Though most people on here are quick to yell "off with his head!" I think even Yamaha knows that when it finally does come together for him he'll be a force to be reckoned with. Whether or not they want to be racing against him when that happens is a question really worth pondering over. The problem is that they have other good choices popping up all around them, but in the end they'll probably be wise to wait and see how the WHOLE season pans out before making any decisions. We all know Dovi wants his job, but then again so does every other rider in MotoGP, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Bring on Laguna.

As much as I want to see a successful American in MotoGP, Spies has proven not worthy of the factory ride. Call it bad luck or whatever you want, but the factory and sponsors expect results. In his time with Yamaha, he has one win and what, two podiums? Correct me if i am mistaken. Now he is having a miserable season. This has been on a bike that has been extremely competitive at all times. Not very impressive. When is the last time a satellite rider has posted the results that Dovi has. He deserves the ride without a doubt. Spies has had food poisoning like 3 times in 3 years. I think he needs to be more careful where he eats! ;-) Some say you make your own luck. I know he has had some issues out of his control, but I think it's smart to separate yourself from people that unlucky, if that be the case.

Interesting perspective as always David but I think you're a touch off target regarding the Stoner & Bautista and Hayden & Bradl moments.

Pass #1 Stoner had a rush of Doohan-esque arrogance and bulldozed Bautista out of the way when he couldn't make a pass stick in the previous 3 laps. A bit over the top but Stoner seems to have eaten a bit of humble pie so case closed.

Pass #2 Hayden did a classic "Barry Sheene", cleanly stuffing it up the inside of Bradl in a right hander.

Pass #3 Bradl returns the favour in the following lefthander, barging Hayden off line in the process

Now my rhetorical question. One of these 3 is different to the other 2, which one is it?

Pass #2. Unlike the other passes this pass did not slow or impede the progress of the other rider. This is graphically illustrated by the fact that Bradl was able to mount his counter-attack at the next corner where as passes #1 & #3 left its victims off line & struggling to stay on track.

None of these passes need intervention by race direction, but Haydens pass on Bradl does not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as the others. If it did then Bradl would have never had the chance to return the favour.

Anyone see the on grid interview with Biaggi during the BBC coverage? When asked what he thought of Lorenzo he replied that he thought Lorenzo has room to improve on "some things" without elaborating at all. I thought that was kind of funny coming from someone who never won a WC in the premier class.

good to know some people never change :)

You don't have to be faster than someone to notice deficiencies in their riding. Top level racers work with instructors of lesser speeds all the time and they're better riders for it.

I also don't think that Lorenzo is so full of himself that he would tell anyone that he's the very best that there can be.

I believe you haven't seen Max facial expression.

Still we can think that he was distracted by an umbrella girl and meant that he could scarily become even stronger :)
Which of course is true.

Speed is not a point here. Biaggi is very unreliable driver. Fast but not very consistent. Jorge is fast, consistent and mentally strong. Max is just fast. So what sort of deficiencies would he notice?

"You don't have to be faster than someone to notice deficiencies in their riding"

You don't have to look further than many comments online to know that's true :)

"I also don't think that Lorenzo is so full of himself that he would tell anyone that he's the very best that there can be."

No Lorenzo wouldn't. But Max would. It's just typical Max... throwing out a comment without explaining what exactly Lorenzo could improve.

He didn't get the title Roman Emperor for nothing.

Biaggi and Lorenzo are friends. I think this was joke from Biaggi. If Biaggi would had mental strength and consistency of Jorge, he would win WC. Biaggi is still wild card and he breaks under pressure. Sure he is very fast man, but that is it. Jorge is one of the most reliable driver I have ever seen. I am not his fan, but you have to respect him.

Some really good post here! Not much I can add that hasn't been covered. Great ride by Hayden. I was hoping he was going to finish at least 4th and have a go for the podium. Lorenzo may not be the "fastest" rider on the grid, that has to go to Stoner, be he's certainly the "best" right now. The guy is amazing to watch! Inch perfect, never seems flustered. He really could be the next GOAT in the making. Time will tell. Stoner, don't know what to say. The pass on Bautista was pretty lame, especially considering the complaining he's done in the past. His apology was about as sincere as Tosh's. The thing I really can't get my head around is Spies. I'd be inclined to say it was simply another case of bad luck, except a consistent pattern is forming. This is a guy who went head to head against Mat Mladin and won 3 AMA Superbike titles. He then went to WSBK and kicked ass on tracks he'd never seen. And now this year he's finishing behind CRT's. There's got to be more to the story here...

If he can generate so much division amongst people from just one borderline pass, then i sincerely beleive that the amount of passes he would be required to accomplish in a wsbk race could very well start world war 3. and it'd probably break the internet as well

So do i mate, i hope casey does race in wsbk in 2014with factory honda. The chapter of stoner in motogp is close after this season wether win or lose, the new chapter of stoner in wsbk is very interesting back to zero and as rookie in production bikes. Im praying mate.

So Spies is either 1) significantly less competitive (as results have clearly shown) than another (two other, actually, but I'm thinking of Dovizioso here) Yamaha rider on a satellite bike, or 2) very, very unlucky. Depending on what you want to believe.

To advocate re-signing Spies while downplaying or just plain ignoring 1) is, as I said before, a blow to the competitive integrity of the sport. As for 2), you'd have to be a helluva optimist to think his bad luck will turn around in such a way that he'll reverse 1) for the remainder of the season. But such optimists -- and fans of Ben Spies -- do exist. And stranger, less likely things have happened.

Any way you look at it, it will be interesting to learn Yamaha's decision.

Integrity of the sport?

Financial problems in MotoGP are evident. If you have one rider that lead WC and second one who is making more money for your team (Yamaha USA, sales of motorcycles in one of the biggest markets in a world) ... where is the problem in that?

You can talk about integrity, fair play ... but this is not how it works in real world. And you know that.

MotoGP is not fairytale.

And Spies can still get up. So if he stays as he is now, Yamaha will not hold on to him. If he get up, then ... well..

If Yamaha USA wants him there, then that is a big factor for Yamaha.

Besides... if your #1 rider is winning the WC, who really cares who rides the #2 bike. They're just filler anyway.

As an unbiased Spies fan, my theory is that it was Dovi who poisoned Ben's food ;-)

because it means that the bike is great and the team is great! remenber all those multiple titles with Vale/JLo? They care a lot... even if money talks louder.

I think Spies is just having a bad moment of motivation, maybe it wasn't so bad for him to regroup with tech3, release the pressure and comeback in style.

If the ludicrous scenes after the MotoGp race had been replicated at an F1 event the organisers would have rightly been slapped with a hefty fine.

Watching the BBC coverage I thought Matt and Steve were quite restrained with their comments on the stupid and dangerous antics on the pit straight.

I know they are Italian race fans and therefore stupid, but do Dorna want to wait until someone is killed or injured before acting and why was the track security so lax that not just spectators but bikers could get on the track?

OK, OK, I'll take back the stupid comment and I have no problem with exuberant race fans, but my point is that to allow people on motor bikes to get on to the track in front of the pits with all the distractions and maybe some beer and wine is just irresponsible of the organisers.

... But that was my own fault. Fell on the hills going down towards the pitlane and twisted my foot. The circuit ambulance picked me up and took me around the track to the medical center. Dislocated ankle, no fractures. Others weren't so lucky though. There were two guys coming in shortly after me, both with neck support and one with an iv and also some sort of breathing device attached him. Didn't look too good. Then two girls, one with some sort of ankle problem similar to mine and then another one with neck support. Apparantly this was common after the Mugello GP, the Italians always go crazy after the finish and injure themselves. "It's the most dangerous part of the GP weekend", the doctors said. I'm not surprised, and perhaps preventing motorvehicles from entering the track after the race would at least take some of the danger away, without taking too much out of the atmosphere.

Hey John Terry, settle down... Mugello represents everything that is good in motorcycle racing and that includes the fans!

Good summary of the MotoGP race. Lorenzo has something special going on I think. He is the smoothest man on camera. Never hardly a wiggle or headshake. Only one other man is that smooth; Valentino. Lorenzo could be king for a long time.

Meanwhile, the others all have their bikes jumping and skipping every now and then. Shows how extremely hard they are all pushing. I'm used to watching Nicky and Casey manhandle the 800 Ducati, but now they all look like that except Jorge.

I was very proud of Nick. Like I posted before, I thought that 7th was a lot better than sitting behind Bradl to finish 5th. He had to try and he did. It was awesome. He knew Bradl would come back at him. Nick had to stand it up a little and almost ran off, but he didn't so all's good.

Valentino had a good race pace. Both Ducati's were fast at the end, closing right up. Bring on Laguna! It's going to be Nick's best chance to get a win. He'll leave nothing...Vale too. He can go fast their as we've all seen. Very bold. Maybe the boldest. Stoner will be looking for redemption, and Pedrosa looking to gain on Jorge. I think Jorge probably rides more prevent mode there.

Indy will be interesting. Both factory Honda riders excel there (even though they hate the track), and Dovi too. But again, Vale and Nick will be bringing it. Woot!

Question; If Ben Spies brings enough money support from Yamaha USA, and Dovi doesn't bring that kind of money, why wouldn't it be smart to put Dovi on Ben's factory seat, and put Ben of a factory spec Satellite bike? Seems like that would most insure the tuning fork company occupies the most podium spots in 2013.

What ludicrous scene after the MotoGP race? What I saw was a very exuberant display of passion for all things motorcycle and the comradeship of people crazy about MotoGP. Sure wish I could have been there.

I totally agree with DFH, all three passes are different and Stoner's pass was aggressive and out-wade his talent for such an ego. AKA Vale comment.

Firstly, I must mention Romano Fenati. Those X-fuera moves? Simply genius. He reminds me of Jorge Lorenzo back in the early days of his career...well, apart from the fact that Romano has a perpetual sunny smile on his face, quite different from the temperamental thundercloud that Jorge liked to drag around with him.

Maverick Vinales' dumping of the water (or energy drink?) on his and Romano's heads while Sandro Cortese celebrated alone with his champagne was a lovely touch. I was in absolute hysterics.

I was massively impressed by "Fireman" Joe's patience in the Moto2 race. He rode so un-Iannone-ish that I could hardly believe what I was seeing. A fantastic win, especially regarding the setting - the Italian fans deserved that one. I must admit, though, that I did have a little bit of a sulk because Marquez missed the podium...but it was a good race...and I am happy for Bradley Smith too.

MotoGP. Well, you have got to admit that when the race winning overtake occurs on the very first corner, the winner really must have put in a master-class performance. In my opinion, Jorge did just that. He seems to be the Casey Stoner of 2012...although I don't see so many people complaining that the races are "boring" whenever he's leading!

Bradl. Wow. The kid has got talent. And guts. And skill.

I know that a lot of people are very critical of Dovi, but I don't think that anyone can say that he doesn't try. He wants that factory seat at Yamaha, and he is working relentlessly to prove to them that he does deserve it. I really esteem that in a rider.

The big losers of Mugello? Nicky Hayden has got to be first on that list. Poor guy. I was torn between cheering for him or for Bradl; thank goodness they decided that one for me.

The despondent tale of Ben Spies' 2012 season is a real tear-jerker. How much bad luck can you have in one year? Crashes; self-destructive tyres; food poisoning.... I don't know whether to say that at this point in time Dovi appears to be more deserving of a factory ride, or whether Ben should be granted another year, another chance to prove himself.

This was my first time at Mugello and probably the only race I will attend this year. Therefore I can't really assess the level of negative impact the economy has had on attendance this year. I ve always heard how great Mugello is on race day. Maybe my expectations were set too high or this year was a fluke, but I have seen better crowd reactions at Jerez and even Le Mans, David's favorite track.

It's a real shame Ben Spies race turned out the way it did and you've got to feel for him but....

Someone dropped the ball; at the track since Thursday and falling ill on race day is below standard. The big teams have their own kitchens & Chef's; so did several Yamaha team members get food poisoning from the canteen or did he manage to do the damage on his own?

End of the day he's a pro athlete plying his trade at the top level of a multi million sport and his intake should be monitored carefully at the track – nutrition is part of performance and performance is winning or losing races. Wether it was the team or the rider, at this level being ill with a dicky tummy on race day is careless.

If I was Lin Jarvis I'd be miffed at someone...... and be looking to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I imagine racing GP bikes puts an individual under a lot of stress. Regardless of how much skill they have, they still have to get by the effect on their body of said stress. I believe Casey's fatigue syndrome and allergies were really due to the stress. I believe he is retiring because of this stress and its effect on him. I believe Ben is suffering the same thing this year. Has talent, but not handling the stress.

Anyone who handled Mat Mladin's mind games and riding prowess at his peak, and beat him regularly, probably knows a thing or two about handling "stress"...

Something about being on the facoty team. Dovi had a shot and lot it. Spies isn't fairing much better than Dovi did when he lost his ride. Will putting Dovi back on a factory bike be any better than leaving Spies where he is? Spies had decent results in 2011. 2012 has been pretty horrible so far I admit but traditionally Dovi is a big gamble as well.

Also, I can't recall then name, but it I do remember an illness Mat Mladin, Chris Walker, Ben Bostrom and I think Neil Hodgson all have had over the the years. It seem to hit them while they were claiming to be near peak fitness. But it made them weak and they couldn't concentrate.

I'm not talking about this season when everybody sees what Dovi can do on a lesser spec (admittedly Spies had a run of awful luck, yet he's not consistently faster than Dovi in practice).
My point is Dovi got the boot from Repsol after riding 3 seasons from them, being 6th, 5th and 3rd in the championship, bringing home 7 podiums in each of his last 2 seasons for them.
Indeed last year Spies was 5th with 4 podiums (and one win!) to his name but I doubt he will get the boot (money talks, he HAS the right passport) and I really doubt he would be 3rd in the championship or would have scored more than a couple podiums if he gets it.

I see Smith trying his best in the last few races, and Hervé seems to be happy with his performance, so the question is:

Everybody's waitin' on Valentino's decision, but there's only four bikes, for five riders, considering 1 official yamaha, 2 tech3 and the Duke.

I feel the tech3 riders very at ease at this time, regarding next year - despite their great performances, of course). Is there something, any of you, wanna share?