Le Mans, France

Jeremy Burgess On Laguna 2008 - How Valentino Rossi Beat Casey Stoner

Back in the spring of 2010, I was asked by Chris Jonnum, editor of the late and very much lamented motorcycle racing monthly Road Racer X to do a story on the bikes that won the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca throughout the years. The story meant I got to talk to a lot of people about a single subject, and turned up some fascinating material. One of the most interesting interviews I did was with Valentino Rossi's veteran crew chief, Jeremy Burgess about the race that Rossi won at Laguna Seca in 2008, when he beat Casey Stoner in one of the most thrilling races of recent history.

Burgess spoke to me prior to the 2010 French MotoGP round at Le Mans, while Rossi and Burgess were still with the factory Yamaha team, and talked about their strategy in taking on and beating Casey Stoner and the Ducati, what it takes to win at Laguna Seca, and the difference between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Here's the interview:

MotoMatters: How did the victory at Laguna Seca in 2008 come about?

Jeremy Burgess: I'd have to say it was a pivotal point in the championship to make a statement with Casey. The bike certainly wasn't faster than Casey's bike, but with Laguna being such a unique track, where the straight has a corner on it, a long corner. So it was more of a tactical race than a bike performance race. It was a case of making sure that we were in front of Casey.

Casey had been dominant through all of the practices, and comfortably dominant. So his mindset was probably, "this is my race, I'm going to win this easy". What Casey hadn't dealt with, was the possibility of someone being in front of him. So my message to Valentino was exactly that, Casey hasn't thought about having to race anyone, he's thought only about winning the race.

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MotoGP Engine Usage Analysis Post Assen: Honda Leads, Yamaha Struggles, Ducati In Trouble

With seven races of the season gone, we can start to draw some conclusions from the engine allocation lists provided by the teams so far. Below is a factory-by-factory rundown of the engine situation, together with a table of the engine usage so far.  


The story of Ducati's engines is a tale in two parts: the present, represented by the satellite machines; and the future, represented by the factory riders of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. 

The engine usage of the satellite teams shows that Ducati learned its lessons from last year and are producing pretty solid satellite engines. All of the satellite riders are just about right on schedule, with all of them having taken 3 engines each, and all 3 of those engines active. The only question mark hangs over Hector Barbera's #1 engine, which has 31 sessions on it and has not seen action since Silverstone. 

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Simoncelli Meets Race Direction, Expresses Regret, Admits Error Of His Ways

The penultimate chapter in the Simoncelli-Pedrosa saga (the closing chapter of which will see Pedrosa return to racing, either at Silverstone or more likely at Assen) has now been written. Marco Simoncelli has met with Race Direction to discuss the events of Le Mans, which saw Simoncelli and Pedrosa crash, injuring the Spaniard and the Italian awarded with a ride-through.

Afterwards, Race Direction issued a statement summarizing the contents of the meeting. Race Direction questioned Simoncelli about his view of the incident, to ensure that he understood the error of his ways, and that he would try to avoid a repeat of the situation. Simoncelli avowed that he had had time to think about the situation, and that he had come to see he had made a mistake, and that his statements directly after the race were a result of his emotions running high after the event. In short, Simoncelli did exactly what was asked of him, bowing to pressure from Race Direction.

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Simoncelli Receives Threats Ahead Of Catalunya MotoGP Round

The aftermath of the crash between Marco Simoncelli and Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans is now spiralling rapidly out of control. The ride-through penalty awarded by Race Direction (for "riding in an irresponsible manner, which could cause danger to others") caused a good deal of controversy around the world, and just as the affair appeared to be dying down, the situation was reignited when Race Direction announced that Simoncelli would be called into a meeting with them at Barcelona.

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Don't Cheek The Beak, Or Why Marco Simoncelli Has Been Called To Face Race Direction At Barcelona

I'm sure you're all familiar with the situation - after all, if you're reading a motorcycle racing website, the chances are good that you are no stranger to speed - you're out for a ride or a drive somewhere, and you get pulled over by the local constabulary. There are a number of responses to getting stopped by the long arm of the law: loudly protesting your innocence and shouting at the officer who stopped you; sullenly sitting on your bike and responding to all questions with little more than a Neanderthal grunt; or giving the good man or woman a welcoming smile, admitting your failings (whether you believe the charges to be just or not), claiming it to be totally out of character and promising never to let it happen again. And of the three possible responses, it is fairly obvious which one will receive the lightest sentence (and no, it's not the one where you tell the officer exactly what part of the male or female anatomy they most resemble).

So after all the talk of his dangerous riding, and the incident in which Marco Simoncelli collided with Dani Pedrosa, which Race Direction ruled was caused by Simoncelli, and judged to be "irresponsible riding" - an infraction according to Section 1.21 2) of the MotoGP regulations - the press release put out by the San Carlo Gresini Honda team was rather puzzling. In it, Simoncelli expressed his - undoubtedly sincere - regrets at Pedrosa's injury, but went on to complain that he felt he had done nothing wrong and had been treated unjustly. 

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Marco Simoncelli To Face Race Direction At Barcelona For Pedrosa Crash

Marco Simoncelli has been called to face Race Direction at Barcelona, to answer questions about the incident between himself and Dani Pedrosa at the Le Mans Round of MotoGP. Below is the official press release, analysis to follow:

Statement from the MotoGP Race Direction  

The Race Direction will call Italian rider Marco Simoncelli during the Catalunya Grand Prix this week, to further discuss the incident during the MotoGP race at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans.

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Marco Simoncelli's Greatest Crime: Impatience

Marco Simoncelli is probably the most exciting rider in MotoGP at the moment. Obviously, his physical presence - tall, lanky, with an enormous and tangled bush of hair atop his head - helps him stand out from the crowd, but it is his riding which has endeared him to the fans. The boy is fast, utterly fearless and willing to fight for every inch of the track. Simoncelli stands aside for no man, which means that at any time, at any track, he can pull the most astonishing moves to try and either defend his position or snatch a place from out of the blue. The fans love it.

The riders, not so much. That impetuousness, seizing the first hint of a gap as soon as it opens, and opening it by force if necessary, has not made him very popular with the remainder of the MotoGP field. Simoncelli, they say, is a wildcard, a rider who is so unpredictable that they don't feel comfortable racing in close proximity with him. The kind of fairing-bashing action that leaves tire marks all over leathers may make Simoncelli a favorite with the fans, but having to deal with it at 300 km/h while manhandling a MotoGP bike around is not an enjoyable experience.

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Pedrosa Has Plate Inserted In Collarbone, Still Uncertain For Barcelona

Dani Pedrosa has finally made a decision. After two days in hospital mulling over the best course of action, Pedrosa has finally decided to have surgery to have a titanium plate fitted to fix his right collarbone, just a month after having surgery to have the plate in his left collarbone removed.

Pedrosa faced two options: do nothing, and treat the collarbone by immobilization, hoping it would heal naturally, and face a recovery period of at least a month. Alternatively, he could have a plate fitted, with a very good chance he would be fit to take part in the next MotoGP at the Barcelona track in Montmelo.

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Pedrosa Uncertain About Collarbone Surgery, Doubtful For Barcelona

The crash which saw Marco Simoncelli collide with Dani Pedrosa, earning Simoncelli a ride-through penalty and Pedrosa a fractured collarbone, has added another chapter to Pedrosa's long litany of injuries. Pedrosa fractured his right collarbone in the crash, just seven months after he broke his left collarbone in a crash at Motegi, and a month after surgery to remove the plate inserted after Motegi.

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