Putting together the calendar for any motorcycle racing series is always a puzzle, depending on a huge number of factors such as circuit availability, travel distance, expense and a host of others. Alongside all of these more obvious factors, the MotoGP calendar also takes into account the scheduling of Formula One. An informal agreement exists between the bosses of Formula One and MotoGP to avoid direct calendar clashes wherever possible, in order to ensure the highest possible TV audiences for both series.
By their very nature, human beings are superstitious beings, seeking succor and aid from wherever they believe they can find it. Some seek it in the support of a Supreme Being, who they entrust with clearing obstacles from their path and lending them strength beyond their natural ability. Others seek it in the most mundane objects, believing that a green vest, a pair of socks, or a necklace with pendant will bring them the luck and the success that they seek.
While many people feel that Marco Simoncelli's fine, imposed for forcing Alvaro Bautista off the track in a reckless pass, was less than surprising, the protagonist himself is less than impressed. According to the Spanish sports daily AS.com, the Italian feels that the punishment was totally unjustified, and a product of the double standards applied in the 250 class.
"The punishment is completely unfair," Simoncelli said, "When the Spanish riders do this kind of thing, nothing ever happens." Speaking in the press room at Mugello, the Italian then went on to sum up a string of maneuvers pulled by Bautista, Alex Debon and Hector Barbera which disadvantaged others yet went unpunished. "The rules should be applied equally to everyone, and today's punishment was unfair," Simoncelli added.
The 250cc race at Mugello turned into the usual thriller, with close-fought racing all the way to the flag. The passes were mostly the kind of robust hooliganism we have come to expect from the 250 class, but one move in particular went a little too far. On lap 11, while dicing for the lead with Alvaro Bautista, Marco Simoncelli exited Casanova and tried to dive up the inside of Bautista going into the Savelli corner. It was a move that was never going to be successful, but it didn't prevent him from trying the move anyway.
As Bautista cut back towards the apex of Savelli, he found Simoncelli right in his blind spot, and Bautista smashed into Simoncelli's fairing. Even worse, the collision had unbalanced both riders, and they both ran wide and off into the gravel, handing the lead of the race over to Mattia Pasini, Simoncelli rejoining 5 seconds behind Pasini, and Bautista over 9 seconds behind the leader. Both men were lucky not to have fallen, a testament to their skill and a reward for all the training both men do on motocross bikes.
The incident was serious enough for Race Direction to decide immediately to investigate the matter, and after hearing testimony from the two riders, Race Direction decided to punish Marco Simoncelli with a fine and by issuing the Italian with a warning, meaning that if he tries anything like this again, he could face suspension for one or more races.
The incident does little for Simoncelli's repuation at Mugello. Last year, the Italian swerved violently down the front straight, causing Hector Barbera to clip Simoncelli's fairing with his front brake, catapulting the Spaniard up the straight at over 250 km/h. Simoncelli received a warning for that incident too, and a year later, he is punished for a similarly harebrained move. Perhaps this time Simoncelli will have learned his lesson.
The text of the decision issued by the FIM is displayed below:
Result of the 2009 MotoGP race at Mugello:
|7||DE ROSA Raffaele||ITA||38||-45|
Results and summary of the highly controversial 250cc race at Mugello:
The rain started as the 250cc bikes sat on the grid, causing a mad panic over pit wall as teams rushed to change tires and suspension in time for the race. One the race got underway, it was Marco Simoncelli who got away at the start, dropping the chasing pack straight away, and building up a gap of over 7 seconds within three laps. Once Mattia Pasini and Alvaro Bautista got past Hiroshi Aoyama, they quickly started closing down the World Champion, Bautista clearly the fastest of the two chasers.
125cc Race result and summary:
The 125cc race at Mugello started out in typically unpredictable fashion, a large group leading from the start with the main contenders, swapping places at the front. On lap 6, Bradley Smith took charge and got a tiny gap. Smith was helped by Andrea Iannone, who was leading the chase for Smith, having the chain leap off his sprocket, causing him to pull up and the riders behind him back off a fraction.