Latest News

Vermeulen To Return To WSB?

Suzuki has had a difficult time in MotoGP. The team has built up a reputation for signing promising riders who never manage to make the big breakthrough into the very top flight of MotoGP. First came John Hopkins, signed after a very brief stint at WCM Yamaha, after racing Formula Xtreme and Supersport in the AMA. Hopkins has been on the verge of a major breakthrough almost all of his career, but has never quite managed to get a win. A lot of this may be put down to the lack of competitiveness of the Suzuki throughout the years, but that still leaves Hopper without a win.

Chris Vermeulen is a similar case. Signed after the Australian came up just short of the World Superbike title, despite a brilliant year on the Ten Kate Honda Fireblade, choosing to join a factory team instead of waiting for another year in World Superbikes looked like a smart move on Vermeulen's part. And unlike Hopkins, Vermeulen has managed to get a win, at Le Mans in 2007 in the pouring rain.

Despite Vermeulen's victory, the first ever for Suzuki in the four-stroke era, his results continue to be a mixed bag. Qualifying has always been a weakness for Vermeulen, as has his starts. Once underway, the Australian's lap times are often among the fastest in the field, but with a big group of riders to fight his way through, the front runners are too far gone for him to catch.

With the rumored imminent arrival of Ben Spies in the Suzuki camp, and Loris Capirossi settling in well in his new team, Vermeulen's position at Suzuki is looking less and less certain. And it's not just Suzuki: Vermeulen's options inside MotoGP are also limited. His name has been linked to Kawasaki, to take over Ant West's position there, and seats are likely to be vacant at the Alice Ducati team next year - if that team can continue to attract sponsorship.

So it's hardly a surprise that rumors are starting to fly about Vermeulen examining options outside of MotoGP. The latest rumor comes from Visordown, which is reporting that Chris Vermeulen is being tipped as the replacement for Troy Bayliss in World Superbike. With Bayliss committed to retiring at the end of this year, Xerox Ducati need an experienced replacement to campaign their 1098R in World Superbikes. A host of names have been mentioned in connection with the seat, including Max Biaggi, Troy Corser, Ruben Xaus and even Alex Barros, but almost all of them have some kind of problem associated with them.

According to Visordown, the gossips in the World Superbike paddock were all saying that Vermeulen had all of the advantages of the other big names, with none of the downsides, which include difficult personal relationships, a reputation for prolific crashing, and advanced age. The only question open is whether Vermeulen, who turns 26 prior to this weekend's race at Donington, would be willing to return to Superbikes. A return to the production-based series would likely spell an end to his MotoGP career, and preclude coming back to the series at a later date. But the prospect of riding the bike likely to clinch the series this year must be very tempting indeed. But then, that's probably how Marco Melandri felt as well.

 

Welcome To The New MotoGPMatters.com Website.

Hopefully, you will already have noticed the difference. The new MotoGPMatters.com website is finally in the air!

After two and a half years of struggling along on software which was not really up to handling the loads being placed on it, we have finally migrated all of our existing content to a brand new system, which will be a vast improvement on the old site.

There is still a lot of work to be done on the site, including another minor redesign, the addition of yet more functionality, rebuilding the list of links to external websites, and the migration of the old comments into the new system. That will all have to wait until the summer break, but I'm just delighted that we have a newer, better site ready and online.

Feel free to leave comments here, or e-mail them to david.emmett@motogpmatters.com

Gibernau To Test Ducati At Mugello In June

One of the more notable paddock visitors at the Grand Prix at Barcelona was former MotoGP hero Sete Gibernau. Hardly surprising, as the Barcelona circuit is right in Gibernau's backyard, and the Spaniard still has a lot of friends in the paddock. What was more interesting was the length of time Gibernau spent talking to engineers and team managers. The Spaniard even dropped a couple of casual hints that he could possibly be interested in getting back into MotoGP in some capacity, should the opportunity arise.

It seems that behind these vague allusions, an awful lot of hard lobbying was going on. Ducati has announced that Sete Gibernau will be testing the Ducati at Mugello from June 17th to 19th, alongside regular test rider Vito Guareschi. It is unclear whether Gibernau will be working on next year's GP9 bike, or if he will be testing improvements to the 2008 Ducati GP8.

It is not entirely unthinkable that Gibernau's test is a precursor to more. With Marco Melandri having such a disastrous year aboard the factory Ducati, the Marlboro Ducati team is desperately searching around for solutions. While improving the bike is one solution, another could be the more radical step of having Gibernau step in to take Melandri's place at some point during the year. With Melandri looking increasingly unlikely to sit out the 2nd year of his 2 year contract with Ducati, and what's worse, looking less and less comfortable or happy aboard the current bike, the Italian may choose (either of his own volition or not) to quit before the season's end. If Melandri were to leave, Ducati would need a replacement, and Gibernau could conceivably be an excellent choice, having already ridden for the team for a year in 2006. The irony of the situation would not be lost on Gibernau, as it was Casey Stoner who took Gibernau's ride at Ducati, after putting Gibernau into the gravel at Estoril.

Any speculation about Gibernau replacing Melandri remains premature, however. First, the Spaniard will have to demonstrate that he can get on better with the current bike than Marco Melandri. As both Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias have demonstrated, that is on easy feat.

Spies To Replace Capirossi At Donington

The Montmélo circuit at Barcelona seems to be hexed for Loris Capirossi. After his terrifying first-corner crash there in 2006, which ended his chances of taking the MotoGP title that year, 2008 was only a little kinder. During this year's race, the Italian was sent flying into the gravel by Alex de Angelis, fracturing a bone in his right hand. Unlike 2006, however, Capirossi's injury means that the Suzuki veteran will be forced to miss at least the British Grand Prix at Donington in 10 days' time.

Capirossi's ill fortune has been Ben Spies' good luck, as the Rizla Suzuki team have confirmed that the Texan will be making his MotoGP debut a few races early. Spies was initially scheduled to ride both US races, at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, as well as the tire test at Indy planned for July 1st. Now, Spies will have at least the race in Donington, and possibly the Dutch TT at Assen six days' later to showcase his talent. Spies was also helped out by the AMA schedule, with no races planned for the US Superbike series until the round run at the same time as the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca in July.

The move makes a great deal of sense for Spies. If your first appearance on a MotoGP bike is in front of your home fans, expectations are likely to be sky high, with both fans and media working themselves into a frenzy. Anything less than a podium - or a narrowly missed podium - would be cause for a huge wave of disappointment. But by competing in his first race on the Suzuki GSV-R at a track which you have never ridden on, and in a foreign country, allows Spies to focus on the basics: getting used to the bike, the team, the paddock and the racing. The only expectation for Spies will be that he gets faster in every session.

With the appearance of a third Suzuki on the grid for 2009 looking ever more unlikely, Spies' performance is going to be crucial for his 2009 plans. A couple of good races at home will strengthen his case to either replace Chris Vermeulen, or open up a place at one of the other major teams. But before we get to 2009, Spies first has some racing to do in 2008.

Pre-race MotoGP Test Schedule At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

As Indianapolis is a new track this year, the MotoGP riders will get to test at the track before the actual race takes place in September. The date for this test has been announced as July 1st and 2nd.

The MotoGP schedule for this period is already intensely busy, with the British Grand Prix at Donington on June 22nd, followed 6 days later by the Dutch TT at Assen on June 28th. The teams will have just two days to pack up and fly out to Indianapolis, where they will take part in a two day test starting July 1st, before flying back to Europe again ready for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring on July 13th, followed by the US GP at Laguna Seca in California just a week later. By the time they've finished, they should have enough frequent flyer miles to get NASA's Manned Mission to Mars well underway.

Date Time Series
July 1-2 10am - 6pm MotoGP
July 3 10am - 6pm Red Bull Rookies Cup

2008 Catalunya Post-Race Testing - Day 2

Times courtesy of GPOne.com:

1 Casey Stoner Ducati 1'42.180
2 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1'42.222
3 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'42.555
4 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1'42.590
5 Randy de Puniet Honda 1'43.039
6 Niccolo Canepa Ducati 1'43.683
7 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati 1'44.074
8 Toni Elias Ducati 1'44.538
9 Nobu Aoki Suzuki 1'44.665
10 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 1'44.938
11 Erwan Nigon Honda 1'45.181
12 Marco Melandri Ducati 1'46.163
13 Vito Guareschi Ducati 1'47.022

2008 Catalunya Post-Race Testing - Day 1

Testing was rather eventful, with Casey Stoner setting the fastest time on the new carbon-fiber frame Ducati Desmosedici GP9, the bike scheduled to race next year. Both Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa switched back and forth between the steel-valve Honda RC212V and the new pneumatic valve engine, but Pedrosa had a nasty highside on cold tires, and was forced to retire. Testing of the bike will now be down to Nicky Hayden for tomorrow. Hayden was 4/10ths quicker on the new bike than on the old bike during the race weekend on race tires.

The times were provided courtesy of GPOne.com. Testing continues tomorrow.

1 Casey Stoner Ducati 1'41.533 lap 45 of 52 Q
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'41.857 lap 60 of 61 Q
3 Shinya Nakano Honda 1'42.039 lap 41 of 50 Q
4 James Toseland Yamaha 1'42.505 lap 55 of 62
5 Alex de Angelis Honda 1'42.699 lap 30 of 42 Q
6 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'42.721 lap 60 of 70
7 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati 1'42.755 lap 56 of 57 Q
8 Randy de Puniet Honda 1'42.775 lap 48 of 54
9 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1'42.782 lap 92 of 93
10 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1'42.818 lap 41 of 64
11 Colin Edwards Yamaha 1'43.127 lap 8 of 38
12 Toni Elias Ducati 1'43.197 lap 64 of 72
13 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'43.552 lap 6 of 32
14 John Hopkins Kawasaki 1'43.630 lap 8 of 23
15 Marco Melandri Ducati 1'44.326 lap 43 of 60
16 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 1'44.927 lap 49 of 55
17 Nobu Aoki Suzuki 1'45.011 lap 66 of 73
18 Erwan Nigon Honda 1'45.603 lap 63 of 78
19 Niccolo Canepa Ducati 1'46.122 lap 47 of 48
20 Vito Guareschi Ducati 1'47.201 lap 19 of 32

2008 Catalunya Qualifying Report - Down To The Wire

Qualifying practice at the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona, Spain, got underway in warm, humid conditions, under overcast but dry skies. The weather has been like this all weekend, with rain overnight, and occasional smatterings during practice, rendering the track incredibly slippery. After Friday's crashfest, the riders were a little more circumspect this morning, especially once it started to rain with 15 minutes of the session to go.

But the afternoon looked like staying thankfully dry. The riders took to the track to a man at the start of the session, working hard to find a race setup after the slippery track surface ruined times on Friday. All except Jorge Lorenzo, that is, who was forced to withdraw from the race after a big crash in Friday afternoon's second free practice session left the Spanish rookie knocked unconscious and out with severe concussion.

Times dropped quickly, getting into the 1'43 bracket within 6 minutes, Dani Pedrosa being the first to hit that target on his third lap out of the pits. Three minutes later, Colin Edwards had taken over half a second off Pedrosa's time, and before the first 10 minutes of qualifying practice was over, Loris Capirossi had cracked the next barrier, with a lap of 1'42.989. Capirex was already under the existing race lap record, and obviously out trying race tires.

Capirossi's time was obviously good, as his time stood for another ten minutes. And Capirossi wasn't the only Suzuki at the sharp end: with a quarter of the session gone, Chris Vermeulen put in the 2nd quickest time to that point, with a lap of 1'43.069. It certainly seemed like Suzuki have found a few solutions to the problems which have held them back so far this season.

The first man to beat Capirossi's time was Casey Stoner, cracking well into the 42s with a 1'42.710 with 40 minutes of the session left. Six minutes later, Stoner was joined by Dani Pedrosa, the man riding his home Grand Prix taking second spot just over a tenth slower than the Ducati. Pedrosa was out on his spare bike, as his first machine had stopped after a small electrical fire, leaving the Spaniard stranded at the side of the race track.

At the halfway mark, the tension started to grow, as we waited for the first rider to put on a qualifier and try for a time. But for the first time in several races, we were left waiting, despite an initial glimpse from Colin Edwards. The Texan improved his time to 3rd with 28 minutes to go, but as it was on the second of two fast laps, it was probably set on race rubber.

Traditionally, it has been Randy de Puniet who is the first to put on soft rubber, and he did not disappoint. But he was beaten out of pit lane by British rookie James Toseland, who crossed the line with 24 minutes of the session left, to take provisional pole with a 1'42.361. His pole position lasted all of 15 seconds, before Randy de Puniet finally rocketed across the line to smash Valentino Rossi's existing pole record by nearly a tenth, with a lap of 1'41.766.

That was fast, but if de Puniet was going so quickly with well over 20 minutes left, the pole record looked like being obliterated. Colin Edwards was the next man to take a shot, taking over pole with 19 minutes to go in 1'41.711, but by now, everyone was getting up to speed. Rider after rider was hitting low 1'42s, with Casey Stoner the third man to crack into the 1'41 bracket. But though almost everyone on track was improving their times, no one could get near to Edwards' time.

Except, of course, for Edwards himself. At the 10 minute mark, the Tech 3 Yamaha veteran shaved another tenth off his pole time, taking it to 1'41.609, gaining confidence on his next set of qualifiers.

The trouble was, so was everyone else. Especially, it seemed, Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man was electric in front of his home crowd, taking pole from Edwards with 7 minutes to go with a 1'41.561. Seconds later, Edwards was pushed down to 3rd, as Randy de Puniet put in another fast lap to take 2nd.

With 5 minutes to go, the action became absolutely frenzied. Casey Stoner looked like taking Pedrosa's pole, but came up short over the finish line. But Nicky Hayden, Pedrosa's team mate, fared better. Seconds later, the American took provisional pole with a lap just 9/1000ths faster than Pedrosa's, in 1'41.558.

The pressure was to prove too much for some riders, with Marco Melandri crashing out and Alex de Angelis running off track in the final minutes, while attempting to improve their times, but the rest just kept on coming.

With the seconds counting down to the end of the session, Pedrosa made a bid to crush the opposition. The Spaniard, born just 12 miles from the track, took a quarter of a second off his pole time, setting a lap of 1'41.269. It was an astonishing time, but the question remained whether it would be enough.

The track was chock-a-block with riders all on fast laps, and all improving their times. Randy de Puniet looked like getting close, but fell short over the line, as did Nicky Hayden. But in the end, it was Casey Stoner who answered Pedrosa's challenge, crossing the line after the flag had dropped in an astounding time of 1'41.186, nearly 7/10ths faster than Valentino Rossi's pole record from last year, taking pole position and pushing Pedrosa down into 2nd.

Nicky Hayden took the 3rd fastest time, and had been quick all day on Saturday, leading to speculation that the Repsol Honda team had decided to use the pneumatic valve engine after all, but had just not told anybody. It's a welcome revival for the former World Champion, who has had a dismal season so far.

Randy de Puniet takes the 4th spot on the grid, the French LCR Honda man proving that he can be fast, though he has to back that up by staying on board during the race. Beside de Puniet sit the two Tech 3 Yamaha men, Colin Edwards ahead of his team mate James Toseland. For a long time, Edwards looked like taking the pole, but once the rest of the field got up to speed, the Texan couldn't gain another tenth of a second. Toseland's 6th spot is impressive, the Brit being fast from the off at a track he has never visited before. The omens are very good for Donington, something that will please the British fans.

Andrea Dovizioso is the 2nd satellite Honda, the Italian rider ahead of Chris Vermeulen in 8th. The Suzukis look good on race tires, though they lost out on qualifying rubber.

The big loser of the session was Valentino Rossi. The Italian has looked strong all weekend, but during qualifying, he just didn't seem to be able to get going. 9th is not a position he is accustomed to starting from, but when he does start from this far back, he has often managed to get on the podium at the very least. Alex de Angelis rounds out the top 10.

As thrilling as qualifying is, soft, sticky rubber can mask problems with race setup, and vice versa. Though the gaps in qualifying were surprisingly large, things are a lot closer together on race tires. There are a whole slew of people who look capable of running race pace, which looks to be in the low 1'43 bracket. Casey Stoner is fastest, managing to crack 1'42 consistently but not often, while Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were running low 1'43s with ease. But also up at that speed were Randy de Puniet, Nicky Hayden, James Toseland, and the Suzukis of Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

With so many riders so close, the race could turn out to be a thriller. If it stays dry. There's a chance of some light showers at some point in the afternoon, though it looks like being later, rather than earlier. If it does rain, it could all turn upside down. Whatever happens, it looks like being a fascinating race.

Full results of the Qualiying Practice of the Catalunya MotoGP round.

2008 Catalunya Qualifying Report - Down To The Wire

Qualifying practice at the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona, Spain, got underway in warm, humid conditions, under overcast but dry skies. The weather has been like this all weekend, with rain overnight, and occasional smatterings during practice, rendering the track incredibly slippery. After Friday's crashfest, the riders were a little more circumspect this morning, especially once it started to rain with 15 minutes of the session to go.

But the afternoon looked like staying thankfully dry. The riders took to the track to a man at the start of the session, working hard to find a race setup after the slippery track surface ruined times on Friday. All except Jorge Lorenzo, that is, who was forced to withdraw from the race after a big crash in Friday afternoon's second free practice session left the Spanish rookie knocked unconscious and out with severe concussion.

Times dropped quickly, getting into the 1'43 bracket within 6 minutes, Dani Pedrosa being the first to hit that target on his third lap out of the pits. Three minutes later, Colin Edwards had taken over half a second off Pedrosa's time, and before the first 10 minutes of qualifying practice was over, Loris Capirossi had cracked the next barrier, with a lap of 1'42.989. Capirex was already under the existing race lap record, and obviously out trying race tires.

Capirossi's time was obviously good, as his time stood for another ten minutes. And Capirossi wasn't the only Suzuki at the sharp end: with a quarter of the session gone, Chris Vermeulen put in the 2nd quickest time to that point, with a lap of 1'43.069. It certainly seemed like Suzuki have found a few solutions to the problems which have held them back so far this season.

The first man to beat Capirossi's time was Casey Stoner, cracking well into the 42s with a 1'42.710 with 40 minutes of the session left. Six minutes later, Stoner was joined by Dani Pedrosa, the man riding his home Grand Prix taking second spot just over a tenth slower than the Ducati. Pedrosa was out on his spare bike, as his first machine had stopped after a small electrical fire, leaving the Spaniard stranded at the side of the race track.

At the halfway mark, the tension started to grow, as we waited for the first rider to put on a qualifier and try for a time. But for the first time in several races, we were left waiting, despite an initial glimpse from Colin Edwards. The Texan improved his time to 3rd with 28 minutes to go, but as it was on the second of two fast laps, it was probably set on race rubber.

Traditionally, it has been Randy de Puniet who is the first to put on soft rubber, and he did not disappoint. But he was beaten out of pit lane by British rookie James Toseland, who crossed the line with 24 minutes of the session left, to take provisional pole with a 1'42.361. His pole position lasted all of 15 seconds, before Randy de Puniet finally rocketed across the line to smash Valentino Rossi's existing pole record by nearly a tenth, with a lap of 1'41.766.

That was fast, but if de Puniet was going so quickly with well over 20 minutes left, the pole record looked like being obliterated. Colin Edwards was the next man to take a shot, taking over pole with 19 minutes to go in 1'41.711, but by now, everyone was getting up to speed. Rider after rider was hitting low 1'42s, with Casey Stoner the third man to crack into the 1'41 bracket. But though almost everyone on track was improving their times, no one could get near to Edwards' time.

Except, of course, for Edwards himself. At the 10 minute mark, the Tech 3 Yamaha veteran shaved another tenth off his pole time, taking it to 1'41.609, gaining confidence on his next set of qualifiers.

The trouble was, so was everyone else. Especially, it seemed, Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man was electric in front of his home crowd, taking pole from Edwards with 7 minutes to go with a 1'41.561. Seconds later, Edwards was pushed down to 3rd, as Randy de Puniet put in another fast lap to take 2nd.

With 5 minutes to go, the action became absolutely frenzied. Casey Stoner looked like taking Pedrosa's pole, but came up short over the finish line. But Nicky Hayden, Pedrosa's team mate, fared better. Seconds later, the American took provisional pole with a lap just 9/1000ths faster than Pedrosa's, in 1'41.558.

The pressure was to prove too much for some riders, with Marco Melandri crashing out and Alex de Angelis running off track in the final minutes, while attempting to improve their times, but the rest just kept on coming.

With the seconds counting down to the end of the session, Pedrosa made a bid to crush the opposition. The Spaniard, born just 12 miles from the track, took a quarter of a second off his pole time, setting a lap of 1'41.269. It was an astonishing time, but the question remained whether it would be enough.

The track was chock-a-block with riders all on fast laps, and all improving their times. Randy de Puniet looked like getting close, but fell short over the line, as did Nicky Hayden. But in the end, it was Casey Stoner who answered Pedrosa's challenge, crossing the line after the flag had dropped in an astounding time of 1'41.186, nearly 7/10ths faster than Valentino Rossi's pole record from last year, taking pole position and pushing Pedrosa down into 2nd.

Nicky Hayden took the 3rd fastest time, and had been quick all day on Saturday, leading to speculation that the Repsol Honda team had decided to use the pneumatic valve engine after all, but had just not told anybody. It's a welcome revival for the former World Champion, who has had a dismal season so far.

Randy de Puniet takes the 4th spot on the grid, the French LCR Honda man proving that he can be fast, though he has to back that up by staying on board during the race. Beside de Puniet sit the two Tech 3 Yamaha men, Colin Edwards ahead of his team mate James Toseland. For a long time, Edwards looked like taking the pole, but once the rest of the field got up to speed, the Texan couldn't gain another tenth of a second. Toseland's 6th spot is impressive, the Brit being fast from the off at a track he has never visited before. The omens are very good for Donington, something that will please the British fans.

Andrea Dovizioso is the 2nd satellite Honda, the Italian rider ahead of Chris Vermeulen in 8th. The Suzukis look good on race tires, though they lost out on qualifying rubber.

The big loser of the session was Valentino Rossi. The Italian has looked strong all weekend, but during qualifying, he just didn't seem to be able to get going. 9th is not a position he is accustomed to starting from, but when he does start from this far back, he has often managed to get on the podium at the very least. Alex de Angelis rounds out the top 10.

As thrilling as qualifying is, soft, sticky rubber can mask problems with race setup, and vice versa. Though the gaps in qualifying were surprisingly large, things are a lot closer together on race tires. There are a whole slew of people who look capable of running race pace, which looks to be in the low 1'43 bracket. Casey Stoner is fastest, managing to crack 1'42 consistently but not often, while Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were running low 1'43s with ease. But also up at that speed were Randy de Puniet, Nicky Hayden, James Toseland, and the Suzukis of Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

With so many riders so close, the race could turn out to be a thriller. If it stays dry. There's a chance of some light showers at some point in the afternoon, though it looks like being later, rather than earlier. If it does rain, it could all turn upside down. Whatever happens, it looks like being a fascinating race.

Full results of the Qualiying Practice of the Catalunya MotoGP round.

Lorenzo To Miss Catalunya GP With Concussion, Maybe More

After a truly meteoric start to the season, Jorge Lorenzo is being brought down to earth just as abruptly. And I mean brought to earth in the most literal sense of the phrase. First, there was the massive highside at Shanghai, in which the reigning 250 champion fractured bones in both ankles and feet. He rode anyway, and managed an astonishing 4th. Then, at Le Mans, he did even better, taking 2nd, despite spending the weekend either in a wheelchair, or tumbling through the gravel again. And at Mugello, despite recovering enough to only require crutches, he ended up sliding off during the race, in another painful crash.

Lorenzo just kept shrugging off every crash, and kept on racing. If somebody was trying to tell the Spaniard something, he certainly wasn't listening. If anything, he was standing with his fingers in his ears yelling LALALALALALALALALALA very loudly just to drown out the warning. Such behavior will only get you so far. At some point, fate will turn around and slap you in the face, to make the point more forcefully.

That point has now come. During this afternoon's session of free practice, Jorge Lorenzo crashed yet again, but having used up his supply of luck at Le Mans and Mugello, he did not escape unscathed this time. Tumbling through the gravel, he slapped both his ankles and his head very nastily on the ground, knocking himself out. He was dazed after the crash, and could not get to his feet, so he was transported first to the Clinica Mobile, where a concussion was diagnosed, and then to the Institut Universitario Dexeus in Barcelona, a medical institute renowned for treating sports injuries.

At the Institut Dexeus, Lorenzo was diagnosed with a severe concussion, and Doctor Xavier Mir, senior surgeon at the Institute, told the press that Lorenzo was to be kept in the hospital for observation for between 48 and 72 hours, and that as a result, the Mallorcan would be forced to miss Sunday's Catalunya GP at the Montmelo circuit.

There is no word on when Lorenzo will return to action, though luckily for the Spaniard, the next race, at Donington Park in the UK, is not for another two weeks. But the Dutch TT at Assen follows Donington just 6 days later, then the Sachsenring in Germany two weeks after that.

The causes of Lorenzo's crash are unknown for the moment, but it is clear that the reason that Lorenzo has been so fast is because, well, he goes so fast. Lorenzo is pushing incredibly hard all the time, and possibly taking too many risks. Valentino Rossi told Alberto Cani of GPOne.com that his own first crash on the 500 had made him a little more careful, but that Lorenzo's crash had not slowed the Spaniard down at all. "After his crash in China, Jorge continued to push hard and take risks, but I think it's better to be a little more careful. It's so easy to go really fast on this bike, but maybe his style is a little bit too risky."

Jorge Lorenzo may have a golden future in MotoGP, but he could take that all away in the blink of an eye. The Spaniard may need to be just a fraction more careful, or he could end up watching others take the titles he looks capable of, as he sits idly by, no longer able to race.

More details on Lorenzo's injuries over on Autosport.com.

GTranslate