Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 282: Bizarre Barcelona - Fabio's Fabulous Win On A Weird Weekend

After an eventful, in every possible meaning of that word, weekend at Montmelo, Adam Wheeler and David Emmett sit around Neil Morrison's dinner table in his apartment in Barcelona to look back at a race which was full of surprises. There was plenty to talk about. We discuss Fabio Quartararo's win, and how he seems to be unbeatable at the moment, even when his rivals aren't taken out. We discuss Aleix Espargaro's mistake, thinking the race was over a lap earlier than it actually was, and Neil gives us a history lesson on the many times it has happened before. And we ask the question, how do riders even know when the race is over?

We also talk about the first corner crash, in which Takaaki Nakagami lost the front and took down Pecco Bagnaia and Alex Rins. We debate the standard of stewarding, and whether there should be more accountability. We have an excellent Renthal Street Session interview with American Racing Moto2 rider Cameron Beaubier. And we finish off with our winners and losers.

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Thanks to Fly Racing and Renthal Street for their support for the show.

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Given the amount of rules at this level of competition, how can this be left to the individual circuit to decide ?
It should be a standard, so there is consistency from track to track.

I need to preface this with the fact that I don't partake in the usual social media arenas so perhaps I'm not alone with this sentiment but I've yet to see mention of this here or anywhere else I read about motor sports & 3 days later I'm still feeling quite riled by something & I just have to vent & this, being the home of my favorite MGP journos is where I've come to do just that... apologies in advance. 

Your description of the T1 accident is accurate. I saw it. You all saw it. I'm sure just about everyone saw it... except for Birt. What in the hell was he looking at? After 5 (4 clear as day) replays, he never realizes that Taka just took out a 160kg Ducati with his FACE & at best, will have the worst whiplash of his life or could quite easily have a broken neck if not worse. But no, please do keep worrying about poor old Alex (who has crashed only 3 times less then Taka since they've both been in MGP fwiw) who we saw standing in the gravel trap with Pecco while the last shot we ever saw of Taka was his motionless body face down where he came to rest. Then please, do continue to spend 50 seconds of every minute spewing out the same old superlatives for the rest of the race until the next famous victory inevitably happens. Good show 'ol chap.

I've never been so livid at race commentary before & while I'm used to not holding majority opinions, surely I can't be the only one who noticed this? Or were you all smart enough to already be in ambient mode at the race start? Thankfully at least Lewis, who audibly winces at Taka's impact, managed to finally speak up near the very end of the replays (after Matt yet again went on about how violently Alex crashed & how guilty Taka was) pointing out how Pecco was ACTUALLY taken down. Still not a mention from the lead commentator. You guys know him? What the hell was going on in the booth? Neil, you are a keen observer & know when to make a salient point about said observations & when to clam up and let the riders/bikes do the talking. To whom @ DORNA should I be sending my emails to get you in the box with Lewis for the big races? 

w/o the belching of course. ;)

Currently I don't think Birty is thinking too much during the races. That's not to say he lacks anything upstairs. I imagine it's just a fast moving race and his job is talk about it while watching it. He does seem a little bit on permanent send but I guess that's what he feels he should be doing. No point there being a commentator who doesn't say anything. In that context some of what he says is just blah blah blah. I guess there's a fine line between not saying enough because you're collecting your thoughts and just saying anything. It's the first year without Steve, give him some time.

No, you weren't alone. I felt like Lewis was trying to get a word in, but Matt Birt just didn't seem to get it at all. He must have been very focused on Alex because Taka's face-plant was horrifically obvious.

" famous victory..." was a good call too. Someone needs to buy the poor guy a thesaurus. I've caught the BT Sport commentary a little bit recently and while it has its own foibles I'm enjoying it more than Matt & Lewis, especially when Sylvain gets on the mic (both him and Simon Crafer I could listen to all day).  

All in all though, I'd find it hard to (p)rattle on endlessly like those folks do, so still appreciate their efforts all round. 

most of the time. Sudaby also seems okay and I'm sure will get better as he gets into it, and Crafar is terrific. You want seriously ugly, crap, totally ignorant commentary, look back at some of the races when that idiot Nick Harris was screaming inanities over his fellow commentators. I've been re-watching 2006 recently and I've had to turn the sound off.

Generally speaking I agree with you. However (you knew that was coming, right?), I tend to see a LOT of things in replays that announcers do not. I don't care if it is American football, MotoGP or F1. I don't think it is because I am more astute but rather because I assume that they are not only watching and commenting on the replay, but that that are doing that with one eye while the other is on the live action as well.

But as a professional couch potato I have NOTHING else to do other than look at the replay that is being played at that moment. I don't have any timing screens and certainly no live action to split my focus.

Just my 2 cents.

By the way, I general I cannot stand listening to Matt, I just think he is horrible. "Marvelous Majestic Mugello" "Merciless Marquez" "Fabulous Fabio" "Pole for Pol" "Peerless Perfect Peco" "Famous (anything, track, corner, pass, win)"

The shit drives me crazy!


Surely you can’t wait for the next “Spielberg Thriller”.

At least someone seems to have told him to stop banging on about Ken Kawauchi’s “famous clipboard”.

I cannot believe that one didn't jump to the top of my list! I think my aggravation with him stems from the fact that I usually watch all of the MotoGP practice sessions and race along with Moto2 & 3 during the following week. Anyone will get on your nerves after that much commentary. 

But he even drives my wife nuts, and she is only a MotoGP race watcher! 



"But as a professional couch potato I have NOTHING else to do other than look at the replay that is being played at that moment. I don't have any timing screens and certainly no live action to split my focus."

I agree with this 100%... when it's one replay.

The first they showed, from the helo, I couldn't tell for sure but something looked off. So, luxury that it is, I 'rewound' & watched it again & then knew Taka, not his bike hit Pecco but I still couldn't tell if it was his head, arm or shoulder. If that was all that they showed during the race, I could've cared less for the very reason you stated. But after 4 more, close up, slo-mo, in your face (no pun intended) replays... I can't buy that too distracted bit. It really came off as Rins tunnel-vision.

And truly I didn't want this to be a general dump on Matt thread. All my in the flesh friends that have ever spent anytime watching any kind of racing with me, knows I'm VERY hard to please when it comes to announce teams. I could fill a book with complaints. As it is I was ready to post this days ago but kept holding off because I thought I was being petty & I'd get over it. But this specific 'non call' if you will, the unique violence of the accident unseen, just really hit me where it hurt.

Adding the superlatives & famous victory bit, well that was just rubbing it in. I guess I wanted to inflict some hurt back & that I regret now. I can piss and moan ad infinitum to my pals & think nothing of it but casting personal attacks on the www... not really cool. <heavy sigh>

Really, I should be praising MGP because of all the racing I watch, they're the only ones that offer a full ambient audio option to view the races in the first place! So kudos to them for that. Now I'll skitter back off to lurkerland & try not to cause any trouble. ;)  

I turned the sound down and earnestly tried to commentate once, it was rubbish. It is difficult.

I share strong feelings about it though, when it bugs me it is poignant. Attempts at a clever turn of phrase usually do. Getting stuck on certain limited perspectives too, they get pet focal points. 

Super happy with Simon Crafar. Initially this new Suddaby kid bugged me, I said out loud that "he has a punch me in the mouth face." I am going to give him a chance though and see if he grows on me. Amy? She does pretty well with the personal interviews, people open up to her. 

I tried calling a race once too. A hopeless joke. Lasted less than a lap!

Doing it whilst also trying to follow live race positions and sector times with a director talking in your ear simultaneously is a job for the pros. 
Crafar is an absolute gem. Makes FP4 especially, essential viewing.



I’ve come to the conclusion that commentators are like the annoying guy in your best friends group. In my case, it was the one who just talked and talked and talked, forever asking inane questions such as ‘do you think it’ll be rainy this weekend?’. The thing is, they are still a best mate and you really miss them when they’re gone. I absolutely hated Keith Heuwen when BT took over from the BBC here in the UK, as did many others, in fact there’s a whole thread on the forum called ‘Keith Heuwen must go’. In retrospect this was horribly unfair but in any case, Keith gradually became part of the familiar, comfortable soundscape of MotoGP and, now that he’s gone, I miss him as much as I missed Stavros and Charlie. So I would just echo one of the themes in this discussion. Commentating is one hard gig. I definitely couldn’t do it. We’re lucky that all those who do, seem to have a genuine passion for MotoGP and are at least as knowledgeable as us.

Since Nick Harris has been gone I haven't had one complaint. I said for years 'anyone would be better' and so far they all have been. I usually listen to Gavin constantly interrupt Michael and Nei H. Better but then I lose Simon and Neil M. Tradeoffs everywhere you look. 

I might be wrong but I think there’s general agreement to shift the focus when the accident might turn out badly. Maybe Birty saw that Taka had hit the wheel with his head and thought exactly the same as us, but also thought, why is that damn director showing this again and again when the poor guy may be headed for a wheelchair at best, I’d better at least deflect.

I’m fairly immune to commentary BS, loved Stavros and Charlie back in the day, but will happily listen to anyone so long as the commentary isn’t like watching horse-racing.

Shouty, I hate constant shouty. When I feel like shouting and they are shouting...good. When it gets shouty in an attempt to convey excitement even when it's not exciting...bad.

I hadn’t considered the focus shifting angle. Fair play to Birt if that’s the case.

David just said Aleix didn't talk to the press. Aleix went on TV after the race and explained. He may not have addressed you personally but he went on TV and took responsibility for his mistake. Not fair to say he didn't

can we spare a moment to offer up the TV director for some criticism?

I can't think of any past season where the back half of the field has been quite so anonymous during a race. Perhaps Taka was tasked with achieving at least *some* screen time.

I certainly saw more of him, in one corner, than I did of his team mate.

Hardly anyone behind Mir seemed to feature.

….is the director cutting from the action to show faces in the pits staring at their screens.  It prompts loud cries of Get Back to the Racing!!!