2011 MotoGP Le Mans Sunday Round Up: Impetuosity, Or How The Best Passes Are Saved Until The Last Lap

There has been much lamenting of late that the MotoGP paddock has been full of talk and not much action. There have been plenty of complaints about the dangerous riding of certain riders, and not much evidence to back the accusations up with. Well, that certainly changed at Le Mans.

But before we get to the controversy - and there was plenty of it, and this time, it was real, not artificially stirred up by the media (mea culpa) - it behooves us to talk about the race. For there was a lot of interesting data that got buried under the polemic, which may prove key for the rest of the season.

The winner was entirely predictable, though the difficulty Casey Stoner had in securing the win, at least for the first third of the race, was rather less expected. Stoner, he said, had had about as near a perfect weekend as it was possible to have, blitzing every session and going on to win the race by an obscene amount - though obviously assisted by the removal of Dani Pedrosa and Marco Simoncelli from the proceedings. The Casey Stoner we saw at Le Mans this weekend was the Casey Stoner that most pundits had backed at the start of the year, after he had dominated much of preseason testing. With the 2011 Ohlins forks now working for him, Stoner looks like being a very hard rider to catch.

But then again Dani Pedrosa did give the Australian a run for his money, at least for the first ten laps. "Dani matched my pace every time I upped it," Stoner said, "until I reached a pace I wasn't happy running at all race." Luckily, that was also the pace that Pedrosa could not match either, and the Spaniard soon dropped off the back. But given that Pedrosa is still suffering with pain in his left shoulder after surgery, it is clear that the Spaniard still has plenty of pace left in him.

Or rather, had plenty of pace. After being taken out by Marco Simoncelli (more of which later), Pedrosa heads back to Barcelona with a broken collarbone, on the right side this time. Though the break appears to be a clean one, the worst thing about this situation is that given his experience with his last collarbone break, he is deeply reluctant to have a plate fitted to fix his collarbone. That was what caused the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that saw him losing strength and feeling in his left arm, as either the screws or the plate cut off the supply of blood to his arm while racing. A repeat of that is Pedrosa's greatest fear. It remains to be seen what he will decide to do.

Valentino Rossi put the Ducati on the podium at Le Mans, but that result needs to be viewed with caution. Rossi's podium - and the same is true for Dovizioso - was entirely down to the Simoncelli-Pedrosa situation, and otherwise, the Italian would only have finished 5th. Yet there is quite a lot of cause for hope too, though it would be unwise to get too carried away just yet. The good thing was that Rossi and his team found a setup that worked for the race, finding some rear grip that Rossi had lacked all weekend.

But the worrying thing was that they had arrived at Le Mans full of hope after the Estoril test, convinced that the new chassis and other parts were a big step in the right direction. There then followed a series of statements that sounded ominously like Casey Stoner from 2010: the team was struggling to find a setup, the bike wasn't responding as they expected, and they didn't really understand what was wrong. After looking at the data more closely on Saturday night and Sunday morning, they found a solution that apparently worked.

It is clear that the Ducati Desmosedici is still a fickle beast, responding only as and when it sees fit. But it also appears that the changes that have been made may mean that the beast has had its first obedience lesson, and may have gone from devouring its owner whole, to merely biting its hand off. Not what you want from a racing motorcycle, but a step in the right direction.

The news at Yamaha is worse. Progress has either stopped altogether or is only being made at a snail's pace, while at Honda they are moving forward like, well, like one of this year's RC212Vs. Watching Jorge Lorenzo ride was an object lesson in desperation, the reigning World Champion clinging to every position he could, until having to surrender with four laps to go. Lorenzo and his crew never really got his M1 working this weekend, and it showed. What's more, the Yamaha is still getting slaughtered on acceleration out of the corners, the Honda reigning supreme in that area.

Lorenzo did not help his cause by crashing in the morning warm up and injuring his hand. Hurting himself and trashing a bike was bad enough, but the bike caught fire and it looked like the engine exploded in a big way, potentially losing Lorenzo an engine from his allocation. Making things worse, if it had been a flag-to-flag race - a definite possibility, given the dark clouds that hovered over the circuit for much of the day - he could have been forced to take another one of the current spec of engine, as Yamaha have not yet completed work on the more powerful engine that Lorenzo has been asking for. There is a chance - albeit a small one - that Yamaha could bring a different engine to Barcelona with a bit more bite off the corners, to give him more of a chance of staying with the Hondas.

But of course all of that will be lost in the talk generated by the on-track controversy. There was plenty to choose from, caused by a whole range of incidents. First, the controversy-that-never-was: After the MotoGP race, there were claims that Valentino Rossi should have been penalized, as he is alleged to have passed Jorge Lorenzo under a waving yellow flag (for the Pedrosa crash). In the press conference (and the footage would seem to bear this out) Rossi had already passed Lorenzo in Garage Vert, and Lorenzo had merely nearly drawn level again down the back straight.

And going off on a tangent a little, it was blatantly evident just how much Rossi hates his former teammate Lorenzo from the way he raced at Le Mans. Once Rossi saw that catching Lorenzo was possible, he stepped his riding up a level, and pushed much harder than he has in previous races. Passing Lorenzo was even sweeter, as evidenced by a veiled comment at the press conference, claiming his pass on Lorenzo was "revenge for last year at Le Mans". It was revenge alright, but for more than just Le Mans.

Then there was the little contretemps during warm up, when Casey Stoner punched Randy de Puniet after De Puniet had gone onto his line. The problem was that Stoner was traveling at race speeds, while De Puniet was wandering about adjusting his brakes, and in his panic when he saw Stoner approaching at speed, De Puniet drifted over to the wrong side of the track. With a closing speed of 100mph or more, Stoner saw that the only place he had left to go was off the track and into the concrete wall that lines that side of the circuit. "When something like that happens, you feel like you're going to die for half a second," Stoner explained his actions afterwards.

Once he returned to his pits, both Stoner and De Puniet were called to race direction, where Stoner received a fine of 5000 euros. De Puniet went unpunished, though the respected Italian publication GPOne.com felt that it was De Puniet who should have been fined in this case. The problem, Stoner explained, was that this sort of thing happened regularly, and that riders needed to be aware that they were endangering riders on fast laps while they are out there cruising.

But both Stoner and De Puniet had apologized to one another, De Puniet recognizing that he had made a bad mistake, Stoner that he had overreacted to the situation in the heat of the moment. However, punching the only Frenchman in MotoGP at his home race did little to endear Stoner to the home fans.

The real controversy, of course, was in the passing, and particularly in the pass that Simoncelli attempted on Dani Pedrosa. What happened was simple: Simoncelli had caught Pedrosa, and had snuck past him at Garage Vert. In passing Pedrosa, he had sacrificed drive out of the corner, and Pedrosa was back in front along the back straight. Arriving at the Chemin aux Boeufs esses, Simoncelli, on the outside of Pedrosa, braked later than Pedrosa and cut across the Spaniard's bows, leaving him nowhere to go.

Both men were at the absolute limit, and Pedrosa had basically two options: brake, stand the bike up and probably crash on his own; or hold his own, and lowside, taking both Simoncelli and himself out in the process. Pedrosa, being the gentleman that he is, took the polite option, standing the bike up and clipping Simoncelli's back wheel, crashing in the process and fracturing his collarbone. Simoncelli was called in for a ride-through by race direction, and ended up off the podium.

Opinion on the justness of the punishment was divided between the media and the current crop of riders. Strangely, it was the media who though that the ride-through was excessive, while all of the MotoGP riders - including hardened veterans like Colin Edwards - felt that Simoncelli's pass was dangerous, and a punishment was appropriate. Even Simoncelli's great defender in the paddock, his friend Valentino Rossi, said Simoncelli's move had been "too hard, especially because he doesn't leave any space for Dani." Even Hector Barbera - hardly a paragon of virtue when it comes to wild and reckless passes - condemned Simoncelli's move.

I had a chance to speak at length with Moto2 rider Kenny Noyes, and he explained the problem with Simoncelli's pass. When you pass up the inside, the other rider has an escape route, Noyes said, but round the outside, that's much more difficult. If you make a pass round the outside, you make the actual pass on the exit of the corner, where the rider you are passing has options to change his line. Closing the door on the way in and chopping off their front wheel is unacceptable, mainly because it's also the best way to ensure both riders will crash.

But Simoncelli's biggest crime, according to Noyes - and most of the other experienced riders - was that his dangerous pass was completely unnecessary at that point. Simoncelli had run Pedrosa down fairly efficiently, and it was only a matter of time before he was passed and escaped. Running that close to Pedrosa down the back straight meant Simoncelli could easily have passed Pedrosa at the next corner, the right hander of the esses that form the Chemin aux Boeufs. Even if he had backed off there, Pedrosa would not have lasted another lap, given the fact that Simoncelli was so much faster.

Whether a ride-through penalty is the appropriate punishment or not is another matter altogether, but here, Race Direction are caught between a rock and a hard place. The problem with a ride-through is that it's irreversible, once issued, the rider is left out of contention. However, theoretically, issuing a time penalty would allow Simoncelli to keep racing, and if he had caught Casey Stoner and taken Stoner out as well, it would have created a whole new level of controversy. The scenario is unlikely, but illustrates the difficulty of making the decision.

Of course, many felt that Simoncelli was being singled out after all the talk at Estoril and Le Mans that the Italian is a dangerous rider. Others, and more specifically Jorge Lorenzo, took this as justification for the accusations they had made previously.

Lorenzo played a double role in this situation, however, the Spaniard having put a very tough move on Dovizioso at the start of the second lap. Lorenzo got in hot inside Dovizioso and the two nearly came together before Dovizioso was forced wide and Lorenzo took the position. Valentino Rossi wasted no time in the press conference sticking the knife in for that move. "If we follow what Lorenzo say on Friday" - Lorenzo had called for tighter scrutiny of tough moves, and examining whether rules on overtaking would be feasible - "then they have to give him a ride-through." Rossi said. "But unfortunately, nobody follow what Lorenzo says," he added.

The difference, according to Andrea Dovizioso, was a matter of intent. "What happen with Lorenzo was the same as what happen with Simoncelli several times, but I think the important point to understand is if the rider do this on purpose, or if he just brake too late and couldn't avoid it." Dovizioso was prepared to give Lorenzo the benefit of the doubt, at least until he had seen the TV pictures.

But after two race crashes, caused entirely through his own fault, a dangerous pass and a ride-through is the last thing Simoncelli needed. And if he had shown just a little bit of patience - literally, just a few hundred meters - he could have covered himself in glory rather than acrimony.

If Simoncelli needed an example of how to do it, he needed only watch the 125cc and Moto2 races. The 125cc race, in particular, was educational, with Maverick Viñales - a sixteen-year-old schoolboy - ignoring the mind games of the much more experienced Nico Terol, and waiting icily until the last lap to make a move, snatching victory from Terol at a point when Terol could do nothing about it. That was not the race of a rider who was putting in just his 4th full-time appearance on the international stage. That was the calm, collected race of a future world champion, one with the ice in his veins needed to win at the very top level of competition.

Even in Moto2 there were lessons to be learned for the observant. After a tough start, Marc Marquez worked his way through the field using tough, aggressive, but safe passes to take the lead, and after crashing out of the first three races, finally get his first Moto2 race finish with a win. Marquez is just eighteen years of age, and on the brink of manhood, yet the Spaniard showed a maturity and an intelligence far beyond his years.

Though all the talk this weekend will be of Simoncelli, the real talking point should be the emergence of two new stars, who will soon light up the firmament of MotoGP. Marquez and Viñales are names to watch, and the real stars of the weekend.

Total votes: 381
Total votes: 89

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Comments

...M1 not so good, no?

While Stoner gloats about how difficult it has been for Rossi (and Hayden) to make progress on the bike he won on last year, it seems only natural to wonder what happened to the M1 that won the Championship last year.

Total votes: 431

Yeah ... Yamaha really need to pull there fingers out. Lorenzo and Spies have been asking for more power since they first rode the 2011 bike. That must be about 6 months ago now?

Total votes: 431

Sorry but I just had a flashback to a gazillion Star Trek episodes where Captain James T Kirk was asking Scotty for "more power" ...... "och she'll ne'er hold together Cap'n" was always the reply!!!! Maybe the same here?

Total votes: 386

given current engine limits, i understand yamaha's trepidation. what value "more power" in the event you scatter an engine...? so keeping in mind, they're already tuned like a stradivarius, whatever they DO come up with, will only be "marginally" faster/more powerful. short of a rolling road, bordering on the immeasurable this.

Total votes: 420

Up until the war erupted between them - and a chronological examination would show who said what first - Stoner had been very mild on Rossi and Ducati, at times quite supportive. If one looks at what JB has been saying lately, he's been admitting more openly that what Stoner had been riding is very much a riddle wrapped in an enema and obviously it remains much the same despite some extensive surgery.

Total votes: 419

A riddle wrapped in an enema??? Unintentionally funny Oscar or deliberate? Regardless, very funny.

Total votes: 434

A riddle is what it is, the rest relates to what effect it has..

Total votes: 417

"Lorenzo got in hot inside Dovizioso and the two nearly came together before Dovizioso was forced wide and Lorenzo took the position."
This line made me laugh! Good work Dave!

Total votes: 404

I bet this was just an off weekend on a Honda track.

The whole article is great.
I understand people not wanting a witch hunt against Simoncelli, but he did mess up today, with tragic consequences. Besides having Pedrosa sidelined, it's a big shame to have everyone distracted from the great races through the day. We should be talking a lot more about Viñales, Marquez, Bradl, Takahashi, Stoner...

I do not remember a MotoGP season which was so tense off the track ammong the riders. Do you David?

Total votes: 438

le mans was never a yamaha track or honda track. it was split 4-4 until this weekend since going to four-strokers. it, however, is not ducati-friendly but what track is at the moment

Total votes: 389

before anyone passes judgement on SIC's maneuvers this weekend, they should first ask DP what he thought about it. i'd be willing to bet that he'd pass it off as just a racing incident. it would be highly hypocritical if he said otherwise considering that he punted NH at estoril in '06…

as for yamaha being off the pace, i wonder if it's due to funding constraints at YRC. yamaha is running sponsorless in both wsbk AND motogp. and let's just say motorcycle sales haven't been on fire as of late...

Total votes: 433

Sales may not have been on fire, but the bikes have. Or one of them anyway.

Total votes: 417

Pedrosa was furious. He did not think it was just a racing incident. Quote from the press release:

"I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation and now I’m hurt again. It is very unfair, I don’t deserve it."

Total votes: 419

As I wrote on another post, playing rider top trumps is a pointless exercise, as you can always find a rider to agree with your point of view. Kevin Schwantz says racing incident, Wayne Rainey says it was a dangerous pass.

This is a rhetorical device known as appealing to authority, and is regarded as a logical fallacy. There is every reason to believe that Jeremy McWilliams, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz are just as likely to be wrong as I am.

Total votes: 437

I didn't know argumentum ad verecundiam was considered a rethorical device (I have to check it under ipse dixit being it greek counter part).

I think the point that people want to show is that is not a black and white incident where everyone (but Sic) agrees on being "illegal". Not that what XY said should be take as the verb. But that even experts don't have a single point of view on the topic.

What everyone seem to agree is that it was a poor tactical decision by both riders because they both put they race at danger (and potentially even more) for a fight which was pointless. He should have waited. He should have let him go.

I don't blame Race Decision ... the ride through could have been the right decision, or the wrong one (I have not authority, expertise or better position to judge it). I am afraid, as a spectator, that the Lorenzo tactic will work and we end up with F1 style racing. And I am very sorry because I rider I like has been injured.

Total votes: 443

he said it was a damn fool move. Like all the other riders quoted above. Simoncelli knew Pedrosa was on the inside and ahead of him into the corner. Shutting the door over the top of a fellow competitor like that is the MOST basic unwritten rule of how NOT to pass when racing at close quarters. Simoncelli got off lightly with the ride through imposed at the time. I'd have let him finish the race and ban him from the next. He needs to be taught this kind of stuff is not on.

Yes all riders have performed maneuvers in the past in which their ambition has outweighted their talent. But there is a dossier of evidence against Simoncelli far larger than any other rider out there. Like I've said in another post if I thought Simoncelli more intelligent I'd call that 'pass' malicious.

Total votes: 438

+1 on all that you've said. Simoncelli's problem is that he has giant brass balls and teeny weeny brain.

Total votes: 481

I hope and pray that Dani will not have a career path similar to Sete plague with collarbone injuries. This should have been the year that Dani gives the champion or elect a run for their money!

Total votes: 439

The controversy that never was involved Rossi and Dovi (not Lorenzo), IIRC. Rossi passed Dovi on the way out of Garage Vert when Dovi ran wide. Had Dovi ridden around the outside of Rossi, Dovi would have been guilty of passing under yellow.

Total votes: 450

Difference between Pedrosa 06 and Simoncelli 2011 is Dani was immediately contrite, while Simoncelli still thinks he's did nothing wrong, which is his whole problem.

Total votes: 442

fully agreed. which means we'll have the same situation again in the near future.

Total votes: 413

I don't know where to start. Lots of thoughts after this race.

I'll start with Stoner punching Depuniet. I've met Randy and had dinner with him. He is French and has a French attitude but he isn't stupid. He tried to get off the racing line. It wasn't practice or QP it was warmup. He made a mistake that I would call very small and Stoner's reaction just proves what many have been talking about for years now. He needs to get his attitude in check. He'd have a lot of fans if he'd just learn to control himself. I can confirm that everyone likes seeing him do well because Adriana gets more air time. Dean said he was the only rider who he was afraid to interview. Casey, don't worry be happy. I picture a tot tossing toys out of his pram every single time I listen to him speak. The current crop of GP riders are pussies, more on that later.

Jorge's pass on Dovi was insulting. Lorenzo has been incessantly bitching for weeks for passes that he just committed on Dovi. Rossi's post race conference quote was hilarious about this. The last race he was saying to Simoncelli "If you do this on me we have a problem." Newsflash Lorenzo, you just put a pass on Dovi worthy of your opinion to yourself. Congrats you world champion you.

Concerning the Sic incident....go look at the pics and vids again, I did. First off I agree with Rossi that the pass was too extreme. But I rewatched this pass a few times and looked at a bunch of photos (I'm a gp crack fiend) and Dani went in there hot. He was skipping the rear wheel going in. Sic deserves the blame but Dani is not without fault. He went into that corner deep. I saw a photo taken as they are leaning into the corner and the Honda was ahead, you could really tell by the shadows of both bikes in the photo, the Honda had the edge. There was room on the inside of the corner as well, not much, but there was room. The gp media sources will make it sour grapes against Sic but nobody is going to tell me that Dani is without fault. Sic deserves the brunt of it, most definitely, but it wasn't a T-Bone out of the race like the media want to paint it as.

I agree with David about Rossi. There should be no celebrating in the Ducati tent. Like Hayden's podium it was attrition to use the Spies recent term. Those two don't clash and Rossi finishes off the podium. Look at the completion race times and the Ducati is still far back, too many seconds.

The post race conference provided more fireworks. Dovi told Rossi and the press corps that he wasn't friends with Lorenzo.

Rossi got in a dig at Lorenzo concerning his incessant bitching about passes. And oh my favorite Stoner wasted no time getting in digs at Paul Butler and race direction stating he was happy to pay the 5000 pound fine because it means Butler and crew are making decisions instead of going on ignore mode. Newsflash Casey, racing isn't pretty. Paul and crew have been around since Roberts raced, and Spencer, and Gardner, and Rainey, and Schwantz, and on and on. See Noyes's interview of Butler on Speed's website and STFU.

I agree with Rossi. Simoncelli needs to tone it down a little but most of the current crop ARE pussies. The press conferences have been more entertaining than the races in 2011. For the past few years and his entire career Rossi has taken chances and raced hard, like champions of old. Sic needs to tone it down some but he has been a great light on 2011. He is racing, for better or worse, like Schwantz or Rainey of years ago. He is afraid of no one, will trade paint, and races hard. If he can tame that shit down and race he is going to be another alien. I welcome him to the fight for the championship.

Poor Dani. He is an exoskeleton. He goes down and shit breaks. Bad luck or is it being so small?

Give us 9 engines and 24 liters of fuel for next year and 2012 will be the most intriguing year of GP in over a decade.

[Editor's note: this post has been edited by the moderators to remove the stupid and childish epithets which have no place here. If it didn't have a few well-argued points in it as well, it would have been deleted. Name-calling has no place here.]

Total votes: 433

Allthough I don't agree with you on everything, your post reads like a thoughtful piece. So why not give yourself some more credit and just call the guys by their names? Really.

Total votes: 419

i posted this in another thread, but... if dani went in there too hot how come simoncelli was about to come from BEHIND and from the OUTSIDE and end up infront of him?

btw i enjoyed reading your thoughts the points were well thought out and put, even if i dont quite agree with all of them

Total votes: 421

I knew there was something bothering me about all these people saying Dani was in too hot (based on the rear wheel floating a bit - have they never seen racing?), but you have put your finger on it. To put a move on somebody from the outside and behind that person would have to be going very slowly, not "too hot". More likely to be seen in club racing than in MotoGP.

Total votes: 413

Dani went in hot when Simoncelli was trying too hard. He was in fact skipping the rear wheel going in at the entrance, then tried to save himself by letting go of the brakes. At that moment Sic was already there steering towards the apex. I would think this is just a racing incident, sh*t happens.

Total votes: 434

Isn't that the desired move against someone coming around the outside? To brake late into the corner, and close the line on the outside? Surely Dani would have known that he was going to try around the outside.

Total votes: 433

... but do you really think that Stoner should change so that he gets more 'fans'???? Seriously... you don't understand the guy, but otherwise you have a reasonable understanding of the sport and the current situation.

Stoner doesn't care what random people - or sponsors - think of him on a personal level. He does care what his fellow racers think of him, as evidenced by his clean trackwork - unless you screw him over one too many times, as RdP discovered. Bit like Mick Doohan, really.

Total votes: 436

I once read that Dani has a fear of things on the right side of his body. Is this true and if so, what did this condition add to this already dodgy move by Marco?

Total votes: 425

David, glad to see the coverage didn't suffer much despite your boycott! this is still the best site for GP news so thanks for that.

I respect Vale's sunny assessment of the weekend, and I am sure he knows more than we do, but his weekend appeared more good luck than great progress. Both he and Hayden seemed to languish at the bottom of the time sheets save a great lap or two. Oddly, they always go well in the warm ups. Given all the talk about being poor on cold tires, that makes little sense to me. But at least no one folded the front unexpectedly (or wait, Randy did in qualifying). Watching the desmo on track it seemed a much less tame beast on corner exits compared to the Honda.

Simi was definitely aggressive on the pass of Pedrosa but seeing it a second time I have tempered my view a little. To me, he didn't just take out Pedrosa. Marco was going around the outside, was marginally ahead, left a little bit of room...but Pedrosa was clearly too hot to make the corner. They made contact and Pedrosa got the worst of it. Marco was making the low percentage move -- and the riskier move for him, because his fate was in the hands of Pedrosa -- so yes, he was perhaps too impetuous. But he didn't just punt Dani.

Poor Dani. He needs better armor!

I found the pass Lorenzo made on Dovi earlier less forgivable. Jorge was behind, went flying into the turn well behind Dovi, locked the brakes and bumped Dovi out of the way. They both continued, but this seemed exactly the kind of behavior that Lorenzo was accusing others of, and imploring the officials to make up new rules about. And for the record, I don't think we need more rules...

On Le Mans: i did attend the race as I live in Paris and enjoyed it. I went on Saturday, actually, and there was a big crowd. I agree with you that 90 EUR for internet access is unreasonable, and I will take your word for how lousy the media center is, but I have to disagree with the rest of your assessment of the track and crowd... Having been to races at Estoril, Mugello, Laguna, Magny Cours, etc, I think Le Mans is in the top half of facilities for sure. State of the art paddock, real toilets, lots of concessions (with decent food at decent prices), big screens to watch the action -- even a ferris wheel and pretty impressive racing museum. I have never been to Paul Ricard but it is better than Magny Cours in France. And - this is huge - the train from Paris takes less than a hour, and for a few euros you step onto a tram at the TGV station which lets off just at the main gate of the track. I've never been to *any* track that is as easy to get to and get out of! And the crowd? Having raced at Sebring and Indy, I can assure you it gets much much worse ;)

In any case, I am glad to see MotoGP renewed for five more years.

cheers

Total votes: 412

In my opinion, what makes the move by Simoncelli so bad is that he was in control the whole time, and could have easily avoided endangering Pedrosa.
Some people are comparing it to the incident where Pedrosa took out Hayden in 06, but I think there is a clear difference. When Pedrosa took out Hayden, he lost control of the bike (and the situation).
When Rossi took out Stoner, he had lost control of his bike.
Simoncelli never lost control of his bike, so he has to take full responsibility for what happened to Pedrosa.
He made a misjudgment, just as Pedrosa made a misjudgment in 06 and Rossi in Jerez.
But he would have been able to correct his mistake, by running wider and leaving Pedrosa more space, but didn't.
That's what makes his pass different, and that's why I think he deserved to be punished for his actions.

Total votes: 387

Pedrosa and Rossi apologized and knew they made a mistake. Simoncelli seems to sincerely feel he did nothing wrong, which doesn't bode well for the future.

Total votes: 428

Yes, Rossi only got onto the podium because of Pedrosa's crash and Sic's ride-through. However, had they finished, Lorenzo would have been down in 7th place. Clearly a worrying time for Yamaha. Spies has been inconspicuous since the start of the season, and considering his performances last year we can only assume that he is not gelling with the full factory bike.

Dovi is doing well to get up and race every Sunday. To see Stoner, Pedrosa and Sic massively outpace him on, what I presume is, the same bike must be totally demoralising and he knows he's being handed a P45 in a few months whatever happens.

Sic's move on Pedrosa? Probably a bit on the hard side, but had Pedrosa not gone down I doubt he'd have been give a ride-through. I hope MotoGP is not going to be controlled by the 'please do not overtake me' brigade. Dorna hopefully realise that Rossi's days are now surely numbered and they are hoping for a real character to fill the space that Rossi's eventual exit will leave and amongst the current crop, only Sic manages to generate the same kind of excitement that has won Rossi so many adoring fans.

I hope Sic doesn't let it get to him....it would be a real shame if he toned himself down and became hesitant. I want to see racing of the highest calibre, not a sterile procession controlled by Stoner and Lorenzo's endless complaining about being overtaken forcefully.

Total votes: 425

It is strange that people keep saying Simoncelli makes racing so much more entertaining, how is that? So far this year he has not done much racing and when he has lasted the distance the results have not been what you would expect for so much hype.

Qatar his race pace was good, I think, I can't really remember as he did not entertain me I guess? and then when he actually has the chance to podium in Le Mans he pulled a brainless overtake on Pedrosa, gets a well deserved penalty, and ends up in the same position as Qatar.

Would the penalty have been imposed if Dani had not fallen, I doubt it, I was amazed that race direction actually made a decision even with Dani forced into a crash.

Simoncelli is not Rossi, he has not earned any MotoGP titles, he does not even have a podium and this is his second season in MotoGP, remind me again why he has a factory bike.

Amazing how somebody can be built into a towering icon in peoples minds without a single moment of actual glory...Hype it can really get you places in peoples hearts and minds, strangely it does not create any real results.

Total votes: 420

Have to agree with that. Neither on nor off track he ever struck me as incredibly "exciting" or a "character" as what he's being described in many places nowadays. Looking at his racing alone, as you pointed out, there really haven't been any highlights so far where you could really say this is great racing - unless you count more or less regular rough encounters with other bikes on the track, which some people then seem to perceive as "manly". That alone doesn't make racing though, that's just an afternoon in bumper cars.

The same goes for off track. Having a ridiculous hairdo just isn't enough to be labelled "a character" in my opinion and in all recent discussions his whole contribution consisted of "I don't give a f**k". Maybe I've missed something, but usually I just find this act very boring and I don't quite understand how any of it is supposed to be "exciting".
Especially as none of it has anything to do with the sport itself. Which I suppose (and hope) is what people are watching MotoGP for instead of soap operas or a demolition derby.

Total votes: 419

Simoncelli is not Rossi, he has not earned any MotoGP titles, he does not even have a podium and this is his second season in MotoGP, remind me again why he has a factory bike.

He has the raw speed as he showed at one or another lap in the past which means he has talent.

So far he can't maintain this pace for a whole race or even for a whole season, so far he doesn't seem to understands how to race smart.

Total votes: 416

The reason he has a factory bike in his 2nd year is obvious..raw pace and cajonas, a bit like Stoner...and talking hype, he seems despite the negative to be justifying that call, unlike Ben who was tipped by many home fans to be the next member of the alien set.

Total votes: 403

When comparing 2010 rookies, Stoner's rookie year is the only one of the so called aliens that you can use, as he is the only one to have started on a non factory bike. If you compare his rookie year to Spies and Simoncelli, Spies had similiar results to Stoner, whereas Simoncelli's did not come close (take a look at the stats for confirmation). What 2011 results justify the call? Because if you are still comparing him to Stoner for 1st year on a factory bike, the comparison is not shining favourably on Simoncelli. Spies rookie year results gave him a deserved chance on a factory bike, what he does with it remains to be seen.

EDIT: I just read a post by mind eraser, and my questions of whether he deserved it or not have been answered. It was apparently in Simoncelli's contract that he would get a factory ride in his second year. I wonder if Honda and other manufacturers will be wording their contracts a little more carefully with next seasons rookies.

Total votes: 434

I hate seeing race results decided this way; in an ideal world it would all be about the racing, with race direction left to decide photo finishes. The silly thing about it is that with the pace he had, Marco could have 'easily' finished second. He needs to THINK about the difference between 'can I so it' and 'should I do it'. He doesn't need to make every single pass; race wins and championships are often the result of what riders choose NOT to do. Winners and champions are faced with these split second decisions all the time. Sometimes they go for it, but often they realize that leaving the pass to the next corner (or lap) is the best way to achieve their desired result. After all the recent talk about him he had to know that everything he did was going to be looked at under a microscope, but he went for it anyway. I know it's easy to say from where I sit, but it really looks like Marco needs decision-making skills to match his incredible riding skill. His 'f**k off' attitude, while refreshing at times, just doesn't seem as cool after yesterday's incident.

Total votes: 430

You can say the same thing about Pedrosa: THINK. He had far more to lose than Simoncelli. Why fight someone like Simoncelli, especially at the esses? Back off, let Simoncelli cook it into the left hander, and Pedrosa could pass him back on the right hander. It sucks that he's hurt again. But Simoncelli is just an easy scapegoat here.

Total votes: 412

Yes but Pedrosa has shown in the past that he can think and be smart (just think about last race). Sic still has to show it.

I admire Simoncelli and he is faster and with more talent than others (Dovi or Ben at the moment though I respect them as well). But up to now he hasn't proved to be very smart. And for people who like this sport this is a shame because it would be much better for everyone if he learns to manage himself a bit more. It is not about not being aggressive it is about using that "passion" at the right time in the right way.

Total votes: 395

I believe if Lorenzo had not commented on Simoncelli in previous rounds it would have been classed as a racing incident only.

Fair enough if Race Direction go down this path with apply penalties but they have to be consistent. I don't know how they can apply it consistently - there is too many variables.

I think back to Doohan skittling Schwantz and Barros in Donington. Should he have been penalised for an extremely dangerous move? He also took out Lawson at Suzuka, but Doohan said his brakes had failed. Watching the replay (1989 I think) his back tyre jumped a foot off the ground when he braked. So I assume his brakes failed on initial application but by then it was too late. So does a mechanical failure require a penalty? Mechanical failures real or imagined could be argued forever.

I'm an Aussie who admires Stoner ability on track but that punch was totally unacceptable.

Go Rossi!

Total votes: 370

Something tells me Casey won't give a rats about what anyone here thinks of his love tap on Randy. He is a racer... and he's one of the few out there who isn't worried about winning some sort of popularity contest. If some of these other riders were less concerned about garbage and more concerned about riding fast they might be able to keep up with him.

Like your pal Rossi. He's taken a race winning bike and gone backwards. His reputation is suffering in the eyes of many. He's not as fast as Stoner was on that bike... so while Stoner's reputation as a racer grows, Rossi is being talked about for his excuses and lack of performance.

Remember last year when Rossi said Stoner wasn't riding the Ducati hard enough? I long for the day when Stoner returns serve. It shall be hilarious. So far Stoner has been very respectful of Rossi's performance. He's shown a lot of class... which is odd considering how many people on the interwebz seem to think he shows no respect.

Total votes: 404

I see that as Stoner just being a sook because he wasn't doing what Casey wanted him to. I laugh at him tapping the back of his bike at Estoril - having a dig at Rossi. If he had of done it as a stir - then haha fair enough, but he has a whine about towing Rossi around. Get over it Casey - thats what racings all about, riders going around following each other. If I was out there I would be lining up waiting for him to exit pit lane and pop in behind. We know it gets under his skin and we know he wouldn't dare do anything dangerous about it.

Rossi's performance on the Ducati has just highlighted how special Casey is as a rider. He's a step above everyone and has been for some years now. I agree that Stoner has been respectful of Rossi's performance but I don't think Csey will return "serve". He seems to serious to try and play mind games.

Total votes: 389

I wonder what Honda thinks of all this. Could they be rethinking their decision to give Marco a factory bike? He has just returned their faith in him by taking out their leading championship contender (on current points at the time). Dani may miss a race or two depending on how bad it is. Even if he manages to ride at the next race it is difficult to see him competing at his best for a month or so. Throw in the points he should have scored last night for what was most likely going to be third place and he could well be out of contention now, unless Stoner and Lorenzo have their share of bad luck.

Honda appreciate loyalty from their riders and respect for the company... and Marco showed none yesterday.

If Dani misses out on 50 points or so over this then his championship is as good as toast. That means Honda need Casey to keep on his winning way... but if he should get injured and miss a couple of races, the title will be there for a consistent Lorenzo to take.

Marco already cannot win it. Two DNF's have seen to that. Honda will now expect him to help Stoner by taking points off Lorenzo at every round...and by not doing anything to endanger Stoner during a race. If he were to take Stoner out like he did to Dani and cause an injury, he may well never ride a Honda again.

They aren't called The Evil Empire for nothing. They are desperate to win this year, which is why Marco got a factory ride in the first place, in order to get another bike in front of Lorenzo wherever possible. He is not holding up his end of the bargain very well.

Total votes: 436

I totally agree. Taking your team-mate out is one of the arch blunders as a professional bike racer; the more so if he's a (joint) team leader and in contention for the title. I hate the idea of team orders but Simoncelli perhaps needs the above spelling out to him as well as a few other basic tenets of racing. David (Emmett) wrote a great piece about WSB entitled "Balls Win Races, Brains Win Titles" and whilst Simoncelli is doing his best to refute the first part of that he's doing a great job of adding weight to the latter assertion.

Another possibility regarding Simoncelli is that he's taking the Ayrton Senna approach: intimidation of the opposition. If he keeps up his current form other riders will more than likely think twice about going wheel-to-wheel with him and take a "discretion is the better part of valor" approach. Trouble is now that there are few riders fast enough to mix it up with Simoncelli in a race that do not have a championship to think about and if Pedrosa gets back up to speed with a sizable points deficit to the championship leader in a few weeks time he seems too intelligent to take a "what goes around comes around" attitude.

I don't want to see a rider like Simoncellis talent, inventiveness and bravery squashed by new rules or being demoted within the Honda empire but he needs to become a more mature, complete rider. If Rossi really is a good mate to him he's have a freindly word; but if you believe that Rossi now sees him as a threat maybe that won't happen. Just stirring!

Total votes: 411

This "concept" has popped up in a few other posts, and needs to be corrected:
"They are desperate to win this year, which is why Marco got a factory ride in the first place,"

No, that is NOT why he has a factory ride. He has a factory ride because Honda are CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED to give him one this year, as the current MotoGP rules prevent rookie riders from having a factory ride their first year.
http://www.motomatters.com/news/2009/03/28/new_motogp_rules_6_engines_an...

When he signed with Gresini last year, part of his contract was to have a factory bike the following year.

Total votes: 426

Honda appreciate loyalty from their riders and respect for the company..

That's why they gave so much back to Hayden after he won them a championship after so many years of Rossi domination?

I also have serious doubt that Marco could ever listen to factory orders to A) focus only on making sure one rider doesn't finish first [lorenzo] and therefore B) not going for the win himself. Marco's out there for one person only, himself, and damn all others. Of course everyone else is, but others still manage to have tact, respect, and don't carelessly endanger other riders.

Total votes: 412

re: "I wonder what Honda thinks of all this."

i wonder what REPSOL thinks of all this...? Marco's HRC support as all but finished. sounds good on paper, but there really hasn't been many world championships won in the past decade (WSBK or MotoGP) where the #2 guy has really been of much help...? that's a strategy left over from the 90's, that modern day budgets i'm afraid don't allow for.

Total votes: 406

Maybe Marco should have given Dani more room and waited a few corners to make his pass, but comments by Pedrosa and Puig that Simo "Ruined Our season, should be locked up" are very harsh.

You can blame Marco on the crash, but not on the injury. As has been said a milion times, this is a dangerous sport and if you crash, for whatever reason, you can get hurt.

Dani and Puig wernt so full of vitriol when a fault with his bike resulted in a much worse crash and worse injury (compound fracture at Motegi) were they? You didnt hear them saying that the HRC mechanics were "total ignoramus'" who had ruined their season.

I think Dani's frail stature had more to do with the injury than anything else. Had the Stoner punch in mornming warm up been done to Pedrosa, he'd probably have 7 broken vertebrea.

Total votes: 382

It's difficult not to believe that it takes almost as much passion for racing to race at this level as it does talent. No doubt Dani and Puig had emotions running very high. A few harsh words can be forgiven (certainly much harsher have been said this year for much less!). A broken collar bone from a dodgy pass? Not so much.

Total votes: 378

I know it is cruel, but I laughed out loud because of that last sentence.
By the way, good point about the mechanical fault in Motegi. Does anyone know if the responsible Honda engineers are still in prison?

Total votes: 364

Why is it that nobody remembers that Marco was fined, warned by race direction and almost dis-qualified for his unsafe riding in 2008 & 2009 in the 250's.

Total votes: 400

You are being too harsh. Would Casey have beaten Jlo on the ducati at Lemans..? going off passed results, he was getting slower each season 3rd 5th dnf, with a much more competitive field this year thanks to honda Rossi has without question bucked the trend. Honda has proved it is very difficult to make progress under the new regs(it's taken 4(3.4?Mugello 2010) years for the bike to get to where it is) In such a short space of time and using materials they have no experience with it's tad harsh saying nothing good happened.
Measurable progress for Ducati this weekend but the Honda is a long way off yet.
Simo in the wrong no question but was the penalty for the incident(his first offense) or because of the witchhunt lead by Stoner at the safety meeting or because of the injury?? Or because Simo didn't fall off? I am not sure which but anything other than the offense is a dangerous precedent..
Get fit soon gutted for Dani, another injury is incredibly harsh, he clearly has the pace of Casey even carrying injury but the heavy braking at Le Mans was affecting him all weekend it was only a matter of time in the race before he ran out of strength and I suspect Casey knows this, and Simo, give them hell next time out and a bit more more room you have the bike and the pace..

Rdp comments about Rossi being lucky(appears to be the only one this weekend funnily enough) and Stoners mesmerising explaination for Rossi making the duke look better at LeMans than it ever has before just go to show that racing motorcycles for a living or hobby doesn't mean you know what you are talking about. Music to the ears of the armchair critics..:-)

Total votes: 389

The "witchhunt" in the safety commission is being led by Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner only very rarely attends the SC.

Total votes: 414

Simoncelli is one! Put him in the dunking chair!

As Rossi honestly apprasied himself "I'm not riding the Desmosedici in the manner it needs to be ridden yet"

Total votes: 389

Thank you David, the point was that he DID attend this one though and he did lend his weight to Jorges argument which uptil that moment was seen as Jorge attention seeking due to being totally ignored the other week by the journos.. (if anything the only harsh move between them was Lorenzos late last year)
Stoner had apparently no axe to grind and certainly hadn't come across him on track other than Simo actually looking a threat on pace on a slightly lesser spec version of the same bike... it does make one wonder what his motive was in light of the fact that he doesn't bother with the safety committee normally.

Total votes: 418

"...it does make one wonder what his motive was in light of the fact that he doesn't bother with the safety committee normally."

To promote safer racing? Doesn't need to be a conspiracy over it.

Total votes: 381

What Casey said last year about safety (last year)was concerning the hard surfaced run off areas around the corners. Many riders in his opinion were going into corners way too hot knowing full well if they come unstuck they would just ride back onto to the track with no lost time consequences.

Having sand traps would be better.

Nothing to do with this type of incident.

Total votes: 391

Yes, of course. I was being flippant, as usual. I just enjoyed the contrast.

"There's no fear in the riders any more," the Marlboro Ducati rider said. "They keep going further and further, and it's going to come to a point where everybody starts to really smash into each other, which we've kind of seen in Moto2. It's becoming dangerous in that aspect, there's no respect for each other."

The kung-fu on RDP has me thinking about next year. Will Casey start to carry a spark plug on a rope to deal with the CRT bikes he will be lapping mid distance? The wishy washy and variable rules insure CRT riders will have no chance to sniff the top 10. I wonder what riders would take this ride. Perhaps we'll see Baltista on a reframed gsx-r. I think any of the top WSBK riders would be simply mad to take the also-ran job. I suspect some of those Moto2 Gladiators will be in the seats and redefine 'dangerous'.

It will be interesting to see how this house of cards holds up.

Perhaps we need more rules! Such as; new riders must first be CRT before they can go satellite, before they can go factory. To help the little guys! HP would agree I'm sure.

This comment is half humor and half tears.

Total votes: 360

Edit: nuff said.

Total votes: 467

Any more name-calling and I shall be deleting a lot of posts. I would like to point out one thing: regardless of whether Simoncelli's pass was right or wrong, the penalty issued against Simoncelli had nothing to do with Casey Stoner. And I do mean zero. Jorge Lorenzo has been pushing hard for something to be done about Simoncelli, all Stoner has done is turn up to a Safety Commission meeting; a meeting at which, incidentally, the riders were told they were going to Japan, which pleased none of them. Hector Barbera was also at that Safety Commission meeting, yet I have yet to hear any complaints of a witchhunt instigated by Barbera.

Now, calm down everyone or this topic will have 50 instead of 100 replies, and a lot of really good and interesting comments will be lost along with the few pointless ones.

Total votes: 366

I was surprised to see how many people here thought Sic's pass was OK and a racing incident or that Pedrosa was just as much at fualt. Really surprised. I really wasn't a fan of Lorenzo and the bunch complaining about dangerous passes. It's racing, there are dangerous passes. Never really heard the old timers talking about dangerous passes. Lorenzo was at fault in Valencia and its absurd that he would accuse Sic of being dangerous... at that time.
Now Sic has played right into the hands of every one of his accusers! Like Rossi and everyone had said Sic CLEARLY had the speed and pace to overtake Pedrosa whenever he wanted! And those of you pointing at photos where it looks like Sic is infront leading in, those pictures are taken from different angles, when you see it on TV its obvious Pedrosa had the line and the lead. It looks like Sic has it cause he ran it so deep and squared it.
Regardless it was a stupid move and anyone (armchair rider or not) knows that Pedrosa would have had no where to go.
I was really hoping all this dangerous riding stuff was going to blow over but thanks to Marco we're gonna have another month of this talk. I bet Rossi and everyone else who thought the dangerous riding stuff was silly is so pissed cause this is exactly the fodder the safety riders need.
I'm not hoping for more crashes or dangerous riding, nobody wants that, but I'm nervous that EVERY pass will now be super analysed and ride thru penalties will be the new trend.
One last thought, not to give Rossi anymore props (he has too much already) but me thinks that Lorenzo might be feeling the effects of not having 46 in the garage. No sponsor, a bike that data has shown is slower than last year, and not many upgrades in the pipeline. Looks like he's seeing just how difficult things are without Rossi... just a thought

Total votes: 378

Ducatisti83.... Well said, agree 100% with all your comments

I wish we were discussing how great the racing was, and how there was an epic battle for the win... oh well, hopefully next time

Total votes: 327

Does anyone know whether Dani was wearing the "air bag" race suit?
If he wasnt, would it have helped?

Total votes: 372

I believe that system is just to protect the head and neck. The clavicle is a difficult bone to protect. It's long and narrow and doesn't stand up to an axial load very well. In American football and ice hockey, even large amounts of padding and armor don't protect from falling on your side with the arm adducted.

Total votes: 367

Just watch the 2010 Tony Romo broken shoulder hit here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4wMri4nsuo&feature=related

skip to about 25 seconds in. Sure its a hard hit, but it looks pretty typical for an American Football hit. There is nothing "brutal" about it. Nothing bone jarring or anything. Its a pretty typical hit.

The shoulder is really one of the most vulnerable parts of the body and damn near impossible to protect well. That hit is proof. Looks like he just fell over.

Total votes: 379

The airbag gets inflated when the rider falls off the bike.
Since Dani fell over without really separating from the bike, the airbag wasn't activated.
Just guessing, but seems plausible IMO.

Total votes: 374

Unless I skimmed over the posts too fast(which is possible - my apologies)....

I think Rossi's value/ability/talent is very evident.....in the Yamaha garage.

I think it's safe to say no one expected Honda to improve by leaps and bounds. Honda is obviously the best bike by far and their performance increase is huge....leaving everyone in their wake.

The Yamaha is looking very average and has yet to improve/evolve in any capacity. Ben Spies was having better success on last years non-factory Yamaha. And Lorenzo looks nervous and threatened by even the simplest of things. The Yamaha has been the best package for four years, now four races in, it looks mediocre. No one's talking about Lorenzo's inability to develop a bike.....a bike that was already in great shape thanks to Rossi and JB.

Maybe the Ducati isn't winning yet and is not even close, but based off the performance of the Ducati vs. the Yamaha and the end of last year, who's package has improved more? The Yamaha was the best bike and couldn't lose and the Ducati couldn't be ridden. The Ducati is slowly progressing while the Yamaha is improving in no way.

No one will match Honda this year. But I think(my opinion) the Ducati will be a decent bike by year's end and I think it'll be better than the Yamaha. There's no one(rider) at Yamaha to continue the development anymore. This is what I'm seeing....

Total votes: 356

Dude. Absolutely spot on. As a World Champ, that Fiat(whoops!) team/bike is Jorges. It doesn't surprise me a bit he's not carrying that team. He won a championship due to Rossi's talent, and this year he's getting the results his own talent allows. As you said, look at Spies' results.

Total votes: 327

Was just saying to my gf last night, "Rossi built that bike, and now that he's gone Lorenzo et al don't know what to do with it and are going backwards."

Total votes: 350

I also had a feeling this may come to pass. We're about to find out how good Lorenzo is at developing a bike. I think Spies is just on for the ride. His teammate is the World Champion. There's not a whole lot he can do except ride what he's got. Spies will probably start matching Lorenzo later in the season. Then Yamaha will have to decide who will be developing the 2012 bike.

Total votes: 330

from some of the comments im starting to think that some people actually think rossi and JB (just using them as an example) head down to the factory mid week and build the things by hand.

seriously development talk would go like this
rossi to jb 'fack i hava no good feeling with the front, we needa more front end feel otherwise i cant keep up with these youngsters'
jb looks at data
jb to factory engineer 'the suspension telemetry tells us that the front is working overtime, and my rider says he has no feeling with the front, maybe soften up the chassis or (insert whatever idea he has) a bit or something?
engineer goes back to factory. technical meetings. hours of computer tests.. test rider time etc.

factories lose their way from time to time. just look at yamaha in 2006

Total votes: 355

Great observation and article David. The last observation was about Maverick and Marc. Somewhere it was written that 'a child will lead them'. Thanks for pointing it out. Ice in the veins. Fantastic racing in the junior classes for the win.
The pair of them showed a capacity to think,way ahead of their years.
Long may they maintain it. Marc,highly touted, rode a brilliant race under enormous pressure (on himself),given 3 DNF's in Moto 2. From the off,as Maverick clung like glue to Nico's backside,I always felt, 'game on' after they broke away from the battle behind them for third. Without a doubt those two races were the highlights of the day in terms of racecraft.
MotoGP was as usual,where all the hype is at. Racecrafter # 3 of the day was Casey Stoner. He knew he had to get out of there like a scalded cat with Simmo so close all weekend. Believe me,my biggest concern for Stoner prior to the race was that he would have got caught at the start by Simmo.
Valentino throwing some critique Simmo's way is interesting in its own right.
Dani has remained neutral within the 'war of safety words' off track. Valentino was no doubt faced with a dilemma this time,commenting on the incident. Staunch friend Simmo takes out neutral,but well disposed Dani. Balancing act,I think. Had # 27 been taken out,I have no doubt Valentino would have been 100% behind Simmo.
My only problem with Rossi's clear out of Stoner in Jerez,and Simmos' clear out of Dani yesterday is this.
The pair of them were clearly and easily capable of making the passes,safely, a lap or two later respective to both races. It was so early in both races to try those moves.
Actually,I don't see Simmo as being too rough this time. Wrong certainly. Valentino deserved more sanction in Jerez.
Right now,to revert to where I started, the pair of them can do well to watch Marquez and Vinales in Le Mans. Get back to basics.
Yamaha were seriously outgunned. I didn't expect that lack of pace. Hope they sort it quick,because it has naught to do with their riders. The four of them had to race on a different level and take the consequences.

Total votes: 348

You are letting your outrageous bias get in the way of a balanced debate... c'est la vie.

Total votes: 352

... and very interesting posts as always. I love this site because I learn a lot form David and from fellow site visitors. Yesterday I wrote that I didn´t like Simoncelli´s move on Dani, but I thougth the penalty was to harsh. I think the penalty was imposed because of the controversy stirred around his aggresive style, and because Pedrosa fell as consequence of this pass. The move was stupid as many have mentioned before, Sic could wait some laps and pass Pedrosa eventually, but stupidity is not penalised by the rule book. In recent years, I´ve seen many other agressive moves by many riders that do not end up in someone falling. Perhaps luck, perhaps because a great reaction by the victim or the pass, or simply a rider yielding in order to avoid a fall. Whatever is the case I consider ridiculous that aggresive moves are only analized and penalized if one of the riders falls or crashes. Lorenzo´s move on Dovi on yesterdays race is a good example, but I can also mention many others by Valentino. When VR is questioned by hard racing and aggresive moves ...."it´s racing.."

Simoncelli should be questioned by his team because he is getting top notch equipment and he is wasting far too much podium chances. His move on Pedrosa was not smart in my opinion, but didn´t deserved a penalty as too many others are getting away with the same hard style moves without even a warning.

Total votes: 372

what would we all be saying if Dani ended up maintaining control of his bike and Simo was ejected from his...

there in lies an answer...

Race incident then?

with Simoncelli out of the race, does Pedrosa get a pit-lane drive through?

Remove the who's from the equation and try and make a non-biased opinion of it.

Although I consider the move extremely "ballsy and aggressive" , Dani did have enough room if he maintained the lean to make the corner. The space was there, there is no denying it. The forceful action of reducing Dani's lane to that small space is definitely over the line. I think that the ruling was fair, and should remain at that. You took a podium away from a kid who wants it more than anyone else.

I'd put more bad intent on Stoner's right cross to RdP then I would at Sic's move on Dani.

like someone else I'll quote the great F1 driver Ayrton Senna (since I saw his documentary and it's absolutely breathtaking)..

"If you see a gap and you don't make a move for it, you are no longer racing."

Total votes: 355

Dani did not have enough room, mostly because that line was closing in on him all the time. If you watch the crash video from MotoGp.com, it is replayed in 3 ways, the normal tv feed from behind, then the opposite angle from in front, then onboard. From the last 2 views it is clear that there was simply not enough room to make it, and the line was closing in on Pedrosa. I have a still pic which shows clearly that given his track position and Simo's position it would be impossible to make the corner.

To all those saying that Dani was in too hot, I'm not so sure. His rear wheel skipped, then planted and he turned the bike in quickly, then promptly had his line cut from him. This was a chicane, so very possible to flick in and stand it up which is what Simo was also doing, albeit from a different angle. I cannot see how Simo left Dani any options but to drill into him or bin it.

Simo was passing Dani, it is up to him to make sure that the pass is executed safely. There was no reason for a win it or bin it pass, so why try? I like Simo, and appreciate his balls out approach but there has to be the litte guy on your shoulder who says, "set him up for the next corner and take him there". Simo's brain seems to not have reached this evolutionary point as of yet...

Total votes: 322

that just looking at this image alone does not do the incident justice. However it shows at this particular time, it looks more like a race incident. I'm not arguing for either side. I'm trying to be as non-biased as possible.

Total votes: 320

Your photo shows the room left after Dani stood the bike up after the apex, not the room left at the tightest part of the corner. This crash looks really different depending upon the point of view and angle. For the best view, have a look at Pedrosa's onboard footage.

See here for a freeze frame and I drew a yellow line in from Simo's shoulder down to the apex.
http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb355/Japhro/SimosShoulder.jpg

They were entering with very different lines and track positions, but it is still Simo's responsibility to pass safely IMO as he was overtaking.

Total votes: 359

...just because Marco's shoulder lines up with the apex makes no difference. If Dani had made the corner, his body would have been leaned over way past the apex. I'm not saying I think Marco wasn't at fault (just not compltely. And defeinitely not enough for a ride thru penalty), I'm just saying in a turn the apex does't mark the boundaries of that turn.
Cheers!
Eddie

Total votes: 304

Fair enough pojnt, but this photo illustrates what the previous poster's photo does not, that there was very little room left on the inside. And, room is relative - you can say that there was room for a bike, but Dani was not all the way inside on the entrance to start with. He entered on a line, his line, and it was cut out from him. Simo has to allow for the rider's position, not just leave "enough" room as he says. In fact, this is a complex call to make, we have one rider ahead on the inside, going slower than another rider passing on the wider but more rapidly narrowing outside line (due to the chicane).

As I mentioned earlier, I think the best view of this is from Dani's onboard cam, which clearly
shows Simo barging straight across his line : http://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2011/Le+Mans+2011+MotoGP+Race+Action+Dan...

Total votes: 353

I've tried and can't see the relevance of drawing that line marking where you _think_ the apex of the turn is. (I'm not saying that it's not the apex, but, really, anyone would only be making a guess of where it actually is from a pic)

It's not like me to dissect something the way I have been with this crash, but for some reason it has really intrigued me. My thoughts:

Pedrosa's on-board footage: when viewing that, it certainly does make the case that it is totally Simoncelli's fault. It looks like Simoncelli just comes from nowhere and blasts Pedrosa. But that camera view is tunnel vision, and doesn't account for the fact that Pedrosa could absolutely see Simoncelli there and had to know he was coming.

Telemetry: I read a Simoncelli post-race quote that his telemetry shows he braked no later for that corner on that lap than any other lap in the race. If we could see that data I think that would put a lot of this to rest.

Pedrosa "clearly"in the lead: A lot of people say this, but I've watched the crash over and over frame-by-frame, and AT BEST they are even. Coming down the straight Pedrosa was in the act of passing, but he never even got his bike fully past Simoncelli's. As soon as braking started Simoncelli moved in front again. After all, if he wasn't in front, how could he "take the nose off" Pedrosa?

Pedrosa's wheel hopping: Is a clear indication that he was braking at the max. I speculate that Pedrosa initially braked first, then when he saw Simoncelli coming around him let off the brakes and bit and tried some desperate last-second braking. He is obviously on the edge of (or perhaps past) control the way his rear is bouncing up and down.

The point of contact: Watching the crash frame-by-frame revealed something that took me by surprise, and that is that contact was made AFTER the apex on the EXIT of the corner. Freezing the frame shows that there was no contact until after Simoncelli start standing the bike up for the exit. Heck, he's even getting pretty close to vertical by the time Pedrosa hits him.

My conclusion: Pedrosa's fault I know ... blasphemous!!! But, that's the conclusion I've come to when looking at everything I've been able to find.

Total votes: 373

I'm not trying to "prove" anything, I was responding to another pic implying that there was more than enough room on the inside for Dani. So, I chose to post a photo from another angle that paints a different picture.

As far as Dani not being past Simo on the straight? Look again.

I agree that Dani's cam view is tunnel vision, but the cut inside is so abrupt that it likely wouldn't have been much different from the peripheral view.
Cheers -

Total votes: 349

"As far as Dani not being past Simo on the straight? Look again."

I have. And again. And again. And again. He never gets clear of Simoncelli.

cheers

Total votes: 337

Dani's rear wheel is up to or past Simo's front wheel on the straight, and he is ahead approaching the corner. If your point about him not being ahead is to somehow relieve him of his obligation to use his discretion, I think it's not a point well made.

Total votes: 341

"Dani's rear wheel is up to or past Simo's front wheel on the straight"

Fixed that for you.

The point I'm making is that when braking began, Simoncelli moved back in front and scrubbed enough speed to clearly make the corner (clear by the fact that he was exiting and straightening his bike up when Pedrosa struck him), while Pedrosa who obviously hit his brakes first was not able to scrub enough speed to make the turn (obvious by the fact of his unsettled bike on the entrance and the fact he started running wide in the middle and hit Simoncelli on the way out). So, how do you explain the fact that Pedrosa, who definitely did hit the brakes first, did not slow enough to make the turn, while Simoncelli did? The only explanation I can see is that Pedrosa eased off the brakes and made a desperate effort to slow it down enough at the last second and failed.

Again, if you watch it frame-by-frame you can see Simoncelli already nearing vertical on the exit when contact was made, and that Pedrosa had too much speed to hit the apex. I'm sure Pedrosa could have made the turn, but only by running wide at the apex and off the racing line. There is also no doubt that Simoncelli was comfortably making the turn, otherwise why would he have been standing it up when he got hit?

cheers

Total votes: 414

actually that was the main reason why he did not leave any room to Pedrosa, he made sure he had the optimal line without taking into consideration whether Dani could survive the turn or not. So you can bet he was comfortable!

I also totally agree that "Pedrosa was not able to scrub enough speed to make the turn". I agree, there was no way he could have made the turn.
To me it's because as they were entering the turn side by side with Simoncelli, he did not expect Simoncelli to entirely cut his line.
Therefore he slowed enough to make the turn with his line (different than usual because he was clearly shutting the door on the inside on the entry of the turn, nothing unusual here) but not enough to make the turn in the minimal space Simoncelli let him.

On one hand you have Pedrosa, 3 times GP world champion, 2 times runner up in MotoGP, very rarely crashes, in MotoGP he has 13 victories and 50 podiums to his name. In more than 5 seasons (that is 88 races) he took a rider out ONCE by his own mistake (which he admitted immediately), he has been in countless fights but never fell like this before.
He has huge skills, he is one of the 4 aliens, if there was any chance he could have made the turn, he would have.

On the other hand you have Simoncelli, 1 time world champion, a very fast pilot with 2 DNFs in 3 races desperate to convert his raw speed into his first podium in the category. He has been warned and fined multiple times in 250cc because of his dangerous behavior, his BFF Rossi is saying that what Simoncelli did was wrong, all the current MotoGP riders asked on the subject shared the same opinion.

The move was deemed "illegal maneuver" by the race direction because when you pass from the outside, you have to make sure you leave enough room for the other rider to make it on 2 wheels.
When you pass from the inside the other rider has the possibility to go wider to adapt his line to avoid collision, not so much when you pass from the outside.

Total votes: 352

Lol, I have a feeling that even if I posted pics clearly showing that Dani was ahead, you would argue otherwise.

Total votes: 337

If you were to post such pics, I would have to reconsider. But considering no such pic exists, well ... lol indeed. I have oodles of "pics" (the frame-by-frame replay) of that straight, and I can tell you with certainty Pedrosa doesn't get past.

If you want to look at pics, well, here ya go:
1) http://i.imgur.com/4fwJE.jpg
2) http://i.imgur.com/4mf2V.jpg
3) http://i.imgur.com/iBage.jpg
4) http://i.imgur.com/lLpvK.jpg
5) http://i.imgur.com/FRbfK.jpg
6) http://i.imgur.com/nnkrY.jpg

First, apologies for the pic quality - I took a shot of my TV from my phone. Second, sorry that DVR control box is blocking the view of the inside berm (I couldn't figure out how to move it - maybe you can't?), but it's easy enough to extrapolate where it is from the edges of it showing around the sides - it's not like there's some big bulge hidden behind the control.

So ...
#1 - corner entry. Tight but no problems thus far.
#2 - a little further in. Still no contact or problem.
#3 - no contact yet, but Pedrosa's lean angle is less. Hmmm....
#4 - still no contact, but now Pedrosa is almost going straight. There's room there! Why isn't he turning?
#5 - OMG! He IS going straight! WTF?!?!? But, note there is STILL no contact even though Pedrosa is clearly no longer trying to turn.
#6 - The inevitable when you're going straight in a turn. You run up the outside toward a rider who is ALREADY moving toward the outside (look how much room there is on the inside!). Simoncelli is already exiting.

Yes, that was a HARD pass, but you can see that through the turn there WAS room for Pedrosa. After all, they passed the apex and Simoncelli was moving toward the outside, effectively giving Pedrosa MORE room, when the contact was made.

Looking at that sequence, it's hard not to think that Pedrosa just froze, that if he would have just KEPT TURNING the contact wouldn't have happened at all.

cheers

BTW - I appreciate that while we disagree we are remaining civil.

Total votes: 338

The sequence can be found here: http://www.motogp.com/en/photos/2011/Dani+Pedrosa+Marco+Simoncelli+Repso...
and here: http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/169236/1/pics_pedrosa_simoncelli_le_man...

it's hard for me to believe that a 3 times world champion such as Pedrosa would "freeze" out of fear because of an agressive move like an amateur rider in his first race...he never did so and I don't think it would begin now.

To me, if he did not make it it is because he could not.

Total votes: 311

I see by your photos that you mean something completely different than what i was talking about. By being ahead, I mean that Dani was ahead of Simo going down the straight, and as such, to pass him, it is Simo's responsibility to pass safely. By most people's accounts, this is something he doesn't do. Simo does get ahead of Dani, as he brakes later, and cuts accross the front of Dani as seen in the onboard footage.

I think that you spend a lot of time focusing on the fact that Dani hits him later on in the corner, after the apex, which is consistent with the fact that Dani was hard on the brakes and did his best to avoid the collision. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the corner in question is a chicane. As Marco entered on the outside, he took a very tight line accross to the left to position himself for the upcoming change in direction, and in doing so, he didn't leave adequate room for Dani.

Simo takes the line and part of track that suits him, and perhaps he honestly thought he was either past Pedrosa or Pedrosa had backed off to the point that contact wouldn't be possible, but in my years of racing and watching races, this is an unsafe pass. I think that most top level riders agree. We are free of course to disagree, no problems there.

Total votes: 345

There is nothing unusual about a rear wheel hopping a little under heavy braking. Yes Pedrosa was into the turn a little narrower than a normal line and consequently he was a little wider on his line through the turn, but he was lent over and in the turn no problem - until......

Telemetry. That is such a lame argument from Simoncelli. What his telemetry didn't show was there was another motorcycle already on his line when he decided to stick to what he normally did. That is not motorcycle racing, that move was pure speedway stock cars.

Total votes: 331

Riders have their rear wheel hopping over the tarmac all the time. You see it in practice, qualifying, racing, even in testing. It is as much a part of racing as is having your front wheel float a little while accelerating.

Total votes: 368

"Yes Pedrosa was into the turn a little narrower than a normal line and consequently he was a little wider on his line through the turn, but he was lent over and in the turn no problem - until......"

Yes, until Pedrosa could no longer hold his line and hits Simoncelli AFTER the apex during the EXIT of the corner, after Simoncelli starts standing his bike up. Pedrosa was in too hot, couldn't hold his line, and came UP into Simoncelli. If you can watch it frame by frame you'll see just what I mean.

cheers

Total votes: 356

You do not need to stand a bike up if you're getting into a turn before an apex running "too hot". You can just run wide if there's nobody on your outside line. I did this once at the track, and I was glad the other rider slowed down gave me space to run wide, instead of hugging his "perfect line" effectively taking away my escape route. This is the whole thing everybody is talking about. Dani's intent is to defend the inside line but Marco's intent is to OVERTAKE Dani on the outside and ended up shutting his escape route by squaring off the turn. Seriously, a smarter Sic could had run wider and "contain" Dani's drive out of the turn since Dani is hugging the line early (defensive mode).

Honestly, you really believe Dani could make the turn? I could only see Dani lowsiding if he tried, and taking out Sic, just like how Dave described.

But to be fair to Marco, if this is the other way around as in Dani causing him to crash, he would had shrugged it off. Sic is definately one of those racers who could take what he dish to others.

Total votes: 334

The pic from Japhrodisiac shows a few things. Simo is cutting straight across Dani's line and there was likely contact with Simo before Dani tried to stand it up and let him through. Simo is carrying too much speed and will not make the corner whether Dani is there or not. It is a desperate and dangerous pass that no professional racer should be attempting. You run it into a corner hot and wide and you stay wide - don't dive down towards the apex on someone else's line.

Total votes: 338

To be honest we're all armchair experts. and its hard to judge from stills.
IMO i think that simoncelli was still closing the line on pedrosa in that pic. if pedrosa hadnt have tried to stand it up i think that in a few more frames simoncelli would be right on the apex with pedrosa's bike and possible dani himself underneath him.
what seals the deal in my mind is that the majority of riders think that it was an unsafe move, they know the lines that you take through that corner on a gp bike better than any of us ever will.
was the penalty just? as a single incident i think it was a bit harsh, however with simoncelli's record i think it was needed to hopefully make him not attempt stupid passes like this in the future.
i feel actually feel a bit sorry for simoncelli in all of this. his stupid moves have drawn attention away from the awesome pace he's been showing. if he hadnt have crashed in the last few races i think that he'd almost be ready to be dubbed the next 'alien'

Total votes: 309

I was puzzled by Dani standing the bike up. Am I the only one who looks at the video and sees it is possible that Sic touched part of the front wheel assembly, perhaps even the tire, deflecting the wheel to the left, which would have countersteered the bike and forced it into a more upright position? I say this because, rather than at the limit, I can see room for more lean angle from Dani (his knee never makes it all the way down for example).
Not assigning blame here. Just a couple things I noticed. I haven't looked at all the photos.

Total votes: 327

You can only apply so much brake and so much lean at the same time. These riders apply some amount of brake all the way to the apex. Pedrosa was hot into the turn, hence late trailbraking. He may have been able to "make" the turn (as people keep suggesting) at his regular entry speed, but he was going in hotter than usual to use his inside position to block Simoncelli from passing on the outside. In other words, he was going to take the first turn early apex and faster at the cost of a slower exit from the chicane. Once Simoncelli was in front/outside of Pedrosa, Pedrosa was faced with three choices:

1.) Let off the brake more to allow for more lean angle to complete the turn in the space provided by Simoncelli. This extra speed would result in a collision.

2.) Stay on the brake hard and lean further. Front end wash resulting in both riders down.

3.) Stand up, brake HARD, and try getting lucky and missing Simoncelli's rear wheel.

When you see the video angle that's face on to them coming at you, you can see that Simoncelli is leaned over much further than Pedrosa. This doesn't at all mean that they were not both on the limit. They both were. Simoncelli just had more lean angle and less brake, Pedrosa had more brake and less lean angle. There's no free lunch.

Total votes: 335

Thoughtful analysis!

Total votes: 347

Agree! Seems like you have quite some riding/trackdays/racing under your belt. Logical!

Total votes: 334

Boy I wish! I did do two years of track days/track schools and held a novice race license for a season (although I never put wheel to track in a race due to a combination of horrible weather on every race weekend I had off from work and lack of budget for rain tires). I was fast, and it was the most fun thing I've ever done, but in the end marriage and mortgage and family got in the way. It is currently my life's goal to get out of debt, get my kids into school, and get myself back to a track. Race, track day, whatever. I feel there is a hole left in my life that only a motorcycle and racetrack can fill.

At any rate, short as it may have been, my time on the track, vehicular engineering school past, and a voracious appetite for studying up on the things I'm interested in have given me a pretty good understanding of what makes a bike tick.

Sites like these certainly don't hurt...

Total votes: 331

"'I'd put more bad intent on Stoner's right cross to RdP then I would at Sic's move on Dani."

I've seen best mates hit each other harder than that in fun. It was an aggressive outburst caused by frustration and fear of crashing into someone going much slower. They both apologized and made up afterwards and both admitted they were in the wrong. All good? Yes, it should never have happened and as a result of the fine it probably won't happen again but Randy got off lightly for that bit of carelessness. I am sure he is a great guy but he had a brain fade that was potentially very dangerous.

By the way .... ever had a near miss on your bike that wasn't your fault? How did you feel towards the other driver? It happens often and is frustrating. Sometimes that gets the better of you.

Sic's move has been dissected in so many different ways now with most believing it was dumb! He has indisputable talent but, IMO, it appears that the difference between him and some of the past & current greats is that they ride with calculated & controlled aggression (mostly) .... not outright uncontrolled aggression which leads to emotions taking over from the brain. The fact that he states he was not even partly at fault is really, really concerning. Some of these riders appear to be still very young emotionally and, sorry to say, immature. They react rather than act. There's a lot at stake for them and they are willing to push the boundaries.

No-one wants to see nanny state racing but hopefully no-one also wants to see deaths or serious injuries to riders. There has to be a line drawn and I'd like to see a system similar to that used in other sports where you get yellow and red cards for infringements in addition to, or in place of standard penalties which currently exist.

The idea being that if unacceptable unsportsmanlike conduct is observed of a relatively minor nature in practice, qualifying or racing you get a yellow card (or equivalent) but can continue to race. Get two in one meeting and you get a red card (or in this case a black flag). Get two in consecutive meetings and you front the tribunal for a please explain and show cause as to why you shouldn't receive a suspension for one or more meetings. For any truly dangerous behaviour you'd get an automatic red card and out of the meet with a follow up to attend the tribunal and show cause. For serial offenders this would likely provide a reasonable deterrent. For those who make a genuine mistake it doesn't hurt to remind them that they need to be on top of their game always.

I want to see these guys racing for a long time and I want to see good hard racing with controlled aggression. I don't want to see the best talent in the world decimated by stupid acts.

Of course the devil is in the detail here and it would need some good definition around what's dangerous and what constitutes deliberate intent etc but I'd also like to see penalties for the type of careless acts that we see in just about every practice and qualifying session and even in races where riders just do some of the dumbest things.

Total votes: 321

There can be little doubt the Marco's manoeuvre was dangerous and ill-judged. However the question about penalties on-track and censure off track would seem to hinge on his intention at the moment. Did he intend to cut off Dani's line, or was just guilty of ill judgement?

Or to put it another way, you have two great dancers with different styles. Put them together in a duet and chaos is sure to result. Do the dancers adjust their form to accommodate or just blunder ahead?

The key here is experience. Dani is one of the most experienced riders in the paddock. Marco is still pretty new, and has been given about the most powerful weapon in the pits.

Since we are talking about moments which last milliseconds in practice; you can't ascribe too much thought and analysis to Marco's action. This sort of split-second decision is driven more by experience and training - call it instinctual decision-making. Given the luxury of post-event analysis it does seem the 'smart' move would have been to back off and blow Dani away in a future corner. Given Marco's impetuous nature and solid titanium goolies; he saw what he thought was an opportunity, took it and made a mess of Dani.

I hope he learns from this incident - the first step is to realise he probably did make a mistake; and build this into his experience so that in the future he operates more from instinct than opportunism. Coupled with his formidable physical talents and fearlessness; he could be the next Rossi.

In light of this analysis, I would call into question the ride-through penalty. This was always going to be a tough call, but in general we penalise people for deliberate infractions, not bad judgement. It is clear to me that had it been anyone else than Marco, saddled with the recent history of 'dangerous riding' accusations, that race direction would have allowed the incident to pass, and post race censuring him for dangerous riding; even fining him if it is thought that this will help make the lesson stick.

I speak to Marco just about every race. He is a funny, charismatic lad (see http://images.polepositiontravel.com/events/164/gallery/1013aragon-13_60... for a laugh) and absolutely driven to win. This is what we need in the sport. I just hope he doesn't break too many bones (his and others) on the way to becoming world champion!

Not a plug, but team Gresini are our guest speakers Friday at Catalunya. I think this question might just get on the table!

-gordon

Total votes: 323

However Simoncelli has been racing plenty long enough to know turning over the top of a rider on your inside, who you know is there, is downright dangerous. His track record of total disregard for other riders is pretty stark too in my books. Can this leopard change his spots?

His argument of leaving a metre of room carries no weight whatsoever either. Because of their entry points both riders were scribing differing lines through the bend. Pedrosa picking it up only served to avert an even bigger contact.

You can label this a 'racing incident' but there is absolutely no ambiguity in my mind as to the rider at fault. Laugably some forum posters are now saying Dani should've know better than to be racing Simoncelli. The same ones of course who call the young guns 'pussies' and who want to see paint swapping action?! Go figure...

Total votes: 330

I haven't seen anyone comment on this aspect - which I just picked up re-watching the BBC coverage. Both commentators, IMO rightfully, were shocked at the ride through penalty for SuperSic. Even if it was a careless move from him, issuing a ride through penalty is perhaps even more so. There is no going back from that, there is no chance for the riders to put forward their view of events, Race Direction cannot speak with the marshalls who were posted there to get their side of events either.

Even more interesting was that after the race Steve Parrish commented that had they given a time penalty or handled it after the race they would have been able to actually look at the data from the bikes - he mentioned mainly the brake data from Pedrosa, perhaps he had let off the brakes to try and run Simoncelli wide? Right from the moment I saw that crash I felt that Pedrosa did not hold the inside line as usually expected, after re-watching it it definitely looks like he is running wide almost from turn in (from when he would most definitely have seen Simoncelli in front of him on the outside?). Perhaps they were both partly at fault? Perhaps Pedrosa would have done well to back off and let Simoncelli go around - after all they were in the middle of a battle, I'm sure Pedrosa thought that Simoncelli wouldn't push the issue - but it seems like lots of riders are having their feathers ruffled and learning that Simoncelli is not one to back out in the middle of a battle. But now that particular event won't even be examined any further, it's all dealt with.

But the inconsistency with the penalties is becoming a bit of a joke.

Another question they asked - if it was Rossi who had knocked Pedrosa off, would there have been a ride through? Not very likely...

I know it's sort of the 'unspoken rule' in racing that you don't close the door on someone like that (but I agree with the comment from poleposition above about Sic just taking an opportunity he saw - purely a racing incident), but can you really say that Pedrosa had held the inside line? I honestly can't... I keep thinking that if he had done so the outcome would have been much more favorable for all involved.

As for looking at the brake data from Pedrosa - what do you think? At least I think we can all agree that the ride through penalty was very rash.

Total votes: 325

I must take the opinion that Pedrosa's crash was his own fault, and not the fault of Simo. Pedrosa had a horrible line heading into the corner after a failed pass attempt on Simo. Simo had the entry speed and position, and left Dani room. Dani decided to stand it up and run into the back of Simo. I see no fault in Simos actions on this...

Total votes: 343

Not sure if anyone in Australia had just watched RPM (motorsports news show), but Daryl Beattie stood by his comments from during the race on Sunday - basically saying that it definitely didn't warrant a penalty. Pedrosa had the rear wheel in the air entering the turn, as well as his leg hanging off to try and get the bike turned. Simoncelli did leave room for Pedrosa on the inside (maybe not a generous, comfortable amount of room - but room nonetheless), it really seems like Pedrosa overcooked it into the turn (or maybe just got scared seeing SuperSic hanging it around the outside)?

I wonder what Race Direction is thinking now...

Total votes: 328

I find it funny that most of the motoGP riders think it was a harsh move. Pretty much the only people in the paddock defending Marco is himself and his team boss. Yet many of you think he did nothing wrong.

Dani is entering the turn just fine. The wheel hopping starts happening right as he realizes Marco is coming around the outside and chopping is nose off. And I really have no idea where people are getting that Marco "left him room". There was absolutely no room. Look at it again and you will see Dani is up near the curb, and obviously his tire is on Marco's leathers. So where is this room you speak of? I just hope that if anyone is hurt in the future it is Marco and not one of the other riders.

Can you imagine the universal outrage if Marco did this exact same thing to Rossi?

I also find it odd that many think the Lorenzo pass on Dovi was more harsh. He was up the inside and did hit him, but Dovi had somewhere to go (the entire outside was free). So it was a harsh move, and definitely aggressive, but at least he was never in danger of taking Dovi out. Chopping off someone's front doesn't leave the other rider anywhere to go (Rossi's words, not mine).

Total votes: 318

I suspect the problem is that, with a few exceptions, these comments are really just popularity contests. Most people struggle to be objective - if you are a Rossi fan, it is always the other party's fault and so on. One can always find some camera angle, or some "expert", to confirm what you want to believe.

For those (excluding the Spanish of course) to whom charisma or nationality is more important than riding ability, Pedrosa is an easy man to dislike. Add to that his "crime" in bringing down Hayden in 2006, and there are some to who he will always be guilty, irrespective of the circumstances.

Total votes: 319

I would say Dani maybe "was" an easy man to dislike. Puig probably still is. But Pedrosa has gained lot of respect recently. And well deserved.

Total votes: 319

It really bothers me how often in this site people discualify other´s opinions with the "dumb fan" lable. Not only because is disrespectful but because it kills the debate: "Your dumb no need to think about what you just said".

I really think the site would be even better if people would stop doing that.

Total votes: 327

In all honesty people posting here have likely seen more angles and more repetitions of the Sic-Pedro incident than any of the riders on the grid. Most of the riders might have seen it once or twice at most, then moved on with their lives. In the end it all comes down to opinion, and the more I have watched, the more mine has changed. Initially I thought it was all Sic, but the more I watch it, I think Dani has some responsibility as well. Again, though, it's all just opinion.

I think race direction should have let the race play out, take some time to look at the situation (also keep Puig, et al. AWAY from the decision process- it should be unbiased, and those opinions obviously are not) and then make either a points deduction or a time penalty, if warranted.

Dumb move? Yes. But the more I see it, the more I think racing incident.

Total votes: 311

I thought the same. The one angle that convinced me was Dani's on-board camera. That cleared up any doubt I had.

The best explanation from a racer was the one David originally quoted, that of Kenny Noyes.

Total votes: 333

I really love Simoncelli style, I really want him to win, I really think he's the future "alien" and maybe, maybe, the future Rossi... but:

1/ for me, go on the outside at the enter of a chicane is almost impossible .. except if you are 3 meters in front ... is someone of you guys remind a move like that which succeed ?

2/ He doesn't left any room to Dani (honestly which room are people talking about ????)

3/ Doing a dangerous move when you have the time to overtake your slower opponent is stupid ... or to psychologically "mark" your opponent in a winning championship goal (future or present) like has done in the past Rossi with Biaggi (Welkom 2004), Gibernau (PI 2004, Jerez 2005), Stoner (Laguna 2007), Lorenzo (Barcelona 2009, Motegi 2010). Pedrosa is not a rough opponent, he is faster or not, in real fight, he is not there ... no need to do that ... and I really don't think Simo did it in this way of thinking, he just did it because he thought he could.

Despite all that, I also think:

1/ Pedrosa move was crap ... a bloc pass (=> go right Dani !) on Simo would have been smarter

2/ Drive through is maybe severe ... but the problem is that Simo seems not to realize what he did so ...

Anyway, good race, and Rossi, riding as fast as he did on the qual during race did really well ... and the gap between Yamaha and Ducati get closer.

Stoner was n° favourite before the championship, he is also now more than ever with Pedrosa injury

Total votes: 332

Dani was clearly roughed up in the race and worse so,post his premature race end physically. I do however question his thinking. Stoner had gapped him, Simmo had passed him clean as a whistle after closing him down at a rate of knots.
Surely he should have let it go and applied an Estoril rewind campaign as he did with George in Estoril rather than fight back immediately.
Therein may rest a problem for Dani.
Over the years he has been relentlessly criticised for not fighting back immediately enough,nor hard enough.
He,unfortunately was the big loser on the day by virtue of stepping up to that plate.
Hindsight is 20/20 vision and the final result was a sad blow to the season.
This is an area where Rossi has acquited himself so well over the years. Watch and wait if you are not certain. Call it 'vulture strategy'. Dani should have applied it to Simmo. Let him go,stalk him and pounce on the spoils once he crashes trying to catch the lead rider. If he stays upright to the flag,well and good,just keep the pressure on from behind.
So,yes,I reluctantly give Simmo a thumbs down for the physical move in the moment and Dani,ditto for the immediate response once he was passed cleanly in round #1 by arguably the most agressive and biggest rider in GP.
Outside of this,I really wish Alberto Puig would stop pressurerising Dani with his idiotic pit signs. + 0 to whomever is 3 seconds back on a good lap.

Total votes: 316

"I've re-watched many times the crash and with hindsight I could have perhaps left a bit more space," said the Italian rider. "However, he got off the brakes. Surely I made a mistake with my strategy, because I was a lot quicker and I could have made my move a bit later and risked a lot less.

"I keep on being very sorry for what Dani is going through, but I feel I haven't been more aggressive than others in similar situations. I'm convinced of that, even though everyone else thinks the opposite. I've searched my soul and I believe I did not exaggerate. Even if the others think differently I can't change my view. Even if the whole world says one thing, I don't think that it's necessarily true.

"Anyway, I've certainly learned a lesson and I'll be more careful in the future; I'll try to pick a better time to make an overtaking move, maybe by leaving a bit more of a margin."

from autosport.com

Whether real or political - who knows, probably a bit of both. But this will at least help put this whole sordid affair to bed somewhat.

Total votes: 350

Simo, says what Frank Zappa once said: a million people cal tell you your wrong and your not wrong. A million people can tell you your right and your not right.

Total votes: 327

Grand Prix is a funny funny world sometimes. I think part of it is down to the fact that with GP's being racing prototypes and not the more evenly matched by regulation production bikes, GP teams and riders spend so much time chasing speed, lap times and race times the emphasis and mindset is on racing the clock. It's easy to forget that the race is a flag to flag race not a time trial thats won/lost on a stop watch. This seems to translate at times into an attitude that almost says tough passing and winning by race craft is somehow unfair.

Part of me thinks that the riders who came up through the Telefonica/Dorna/CEV academies under Puig have this racing the clock attitude more than others - it's a big part of their racing education.

Passing people is tricky and dangerous most of the time and often has a big element of chicken that requires one of the riders to yield - in this instance, heading into a turn side by side neither rider was prepared to give way to the other until it was too late.

Personally, whilst it sucks for the rider who lost out, I can't accept that it is an illegal part of GP racing. If it is, the points might as well be handed out after qualifying.

Total votes: 314

The racing against the clock part is probably very true, and I think Sic saying his braking point being the same as in the laps before shows it.
As somebody has pointed out before, what on earth does your braking point of previous laps matter when the situation is totally different with a rider inside you?

To all people that are saying that Sic left Dani enough room: even supposed Sic left enough room for Dani to somehow make the corner (which I don't think was possible, because of Dani's line) - how was Dani supposed to know when or if Sic would stop cutting to the inside?
He saw him closing, closing, closing and stood the bike up to be able to do an emergency brake.

Total votes: 345

"... how was Dani supposed to know when or if Sic would stop cutting to the inside?
He saw him closing, closing, closing and stood the bike up to be able to do an emergency brake."

I've watched the pass numerous times, in slow-motion and frame-by-frame. Watching Simoncelli turn in from his outside position -- and at real-time speed -- there's no way Pedrosa could know in time whether he'd be left any room to negotiate the turn inside of Simoncelli. The gap was closing very quickly (at the apex, Simoncelli's shoulder is well over the curb; if Pedrosa has been inside of him, Pedrosa's inside footpeg may well have grounded on the curb). I don't see Pedrosa "freezing", I see him reacting to the rapid disappearance of space for his bike.

It's also clear that (1) there was light contact prior to Pedrosa standing his bike up; and (b) Simoncelli was not standing his bike up to transition or because he was exiting the first curve -- he straightened up and was almost immediately over the outside curb/paint. That could not have been his intended line, and Pedrosa's contact was not so severe as to knock him all the way out there.

FWIW, I've been a Simoncelli fan since his 250 days, and I've disliked Pedrosa until late last season.

Total votes: 347

http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2011/May/11051734x34=lemans.htm

Kevin Schwantz's views.

Since they were going into a chicane and had passed the first apex, it was time for Sic to start turning to the right. Sic wasn't going all the way to the curb. Dani should be able to see that; however, as Schwantz says, Dani made the right decision to not take out both riders by forcing the corner.

More opinions, but that's what makes it fun!

Total votes: 316

I read that interview as well, and tend to agree with his observations. It's already getting old with all the complaining and talk of overtaking . There is less overtaking then ever before, what do these young riders want to turn the sport into.... the boringest racing series in the world.

Total votes: 345

Have a rewind to the two winners of the races before (Moto2 and 125). Some really nice cold calculated overtaking and manoeuvring by really young guys who acted smartly and waited for the right time .... not just any time. Watch Haga and Bayliss at it over the years in some of their races in WSBK and you'll see close racing with controlled aggression fuelled by the knowledge that they'll look out for each other .....boring? I think not! That's the model I want to see emulated.

Total votes: 318

Since 2007 and the introduction of the 800cc my interest has gone more to WSBK. There has only been a handfull of races I would call exciting. For instance until Vale/Jorge 2009 at catalunya there hadn't been a pass on the last lap in several years. Not sure what your responce has to do with the current state motogp is in. moto2 has better racing right now obviously and I enjoy it as does WSBK.

Total votes: 309

I wholeheartedly agree about the current state of MotoGP. It was just about the nature of the passing in those examples I gave and how I would prefer to see that rather than dumb uncontrolled aggression which takes people out. I want exciting racing too and Moto2 at the same meet was an example of what can be done by someone who thinks before acting.

Total votes: 310