2012 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Head And Heart

Funny how things turn out. On a weekend that looked like being overshadowed by one subject - Casey Stoner's shock retirement announcement and its repercussions - along came the rain and provided spectacle to cheer the hearts of racing fans of every persuasion. Rain offers new opportunities, and such opportunities light a fire in the breasts of racers being kept from running at the front under ordinary circumstances. At the same time, should that fire burn too fiercely, those same racers can fall prey to their own overarching ambition, and fall within sight of glory.

Sunday at Le Mans saw plentiful examples of both. In three outstanding, if rain-sodden races, the fine balance between head and heart that racing requires was demonstrated several times over. Riders took the chances on offer: those who wanted it too much suffered the consequences and crashed out ignominiously; those who did not want it enough floundered around miserably at the rear; those that got it just right were richly rewarded.

Things started off well for the French crowd - over 80,000 braved the torrential conditions to watch the races - as local boy (and he is truly local, born in the city of Le Mans) Louis Rossi took his first victory in the Moto3 class. The race was an object lesson in the excitability of the junior class, with three men crashing out of the lead. From the first, we have come to expect it - why else would Hector Faubel still be in Moto3 at the age of 28? The second was also not a surprise, Miguel Oliveira crashing out of the lead. He deserved better, but it is not unusual for a 17-year-old to allow his excitement to get the better of him when he has the prospect of his first victory in the class ahead of him. The circumstances of the third were similar, though you would expect that Maverick Viñales would be used to leading races, already having 4 victories to his name.

With the three men ahead of him having fallen, all Louis Rossi had to do was to keep calm and stay upright. Easy enough if you have a lead of over 20 seconds, you would think, but that probably just made things worse. Rossi forced himself to concentrate, to maintain his rhythm, to keep braking and opening the gas at the same point of the track every lap, always holding a little bit of a margin for the changing conditions. But the last lap was long, "very, very long" he told MotoGP.com. The win was deserved, and the crowd were ecstatic. The joy of finally getting a win was visible on the podium, when Rossi sang the French national anthem at the very top of his lungs. And if any anthem feels just right being sung at the top of your lungs, it is surely the strident call to battle that is La Marsellaise.

One thing that did become evident from the massive number of riders who fell: the Moto3 bikes are much, much more difficult to bump start than the old 125cc two-strokes. Both Viñales and Oliveira tried to persuade the marshals to help them to bump start their bikes, but after a few desultory attempts, they gave up. Sandro Cortese was a fraction luckier, and a fraction more sensible, holding on to the throttle as he fell to keep the engine running, rejoining to come home in 6th and take a comfortable lead in the championship. But with engines so difficult to start, we are likely to see more riders try to hold on to the clutch as they fall. And as a possible consequence of that, more fingers badly damaged as they get caught between handlebars and ground.

In Moto2, Thomas Luthi gave an object lesson in maturity, going fast but remaining calm. His main rivals for the title both faltered, Pol Espargaro having a big moment and losing touch, while Marc Marquez managed to crash out of the race. Luthi's win closes the title fight right up, just three points separating leader Espargaro and Luthi, with Marquez a single point behind Espargaro. Behind Luthi, Claudio Corti and Scott Redding were also rewarded for their calmness in the face of poor weather, scoring podiums while others fell by the wayside.

Others shone brightly too. For Gino Rea, the weekend had been tough, having switched to a new chassis at the event without any testing. Getting the new Suter chassis to work with the Showa suspension which Gresini uses instead of the paddock-standard Ohlins had been tricky, but when the rain came Rea seized his chance, shooting up through the field to dice at the very front. Unfortunately, a rather boneheaded move by Johann Zarco dumped Rea out, the Frenchman wiping out Rea's front wheel after passing him in the final corner. Race direction looked at the incident, but though unfortunate for Rea, found that Zarco had not made an illegal maneuver.

As with Rea, Bradley Smith showed a similar amount of commitment and passion, firing up through the field to dice at the front, after starting from a lowly 19th spot. Smith gambled and lost, crashing out at the final corner, though he remounted to still cross the line in 10th. Though Smith's commitment and heart cannot be questioned, they pale in the face of Julian Simon. Simon crashed in the same place, but unlike Smith, could not get his bike started again. So he picked it up, and ran, pushing his BQR bike all the way across the line. Simon has proven many times in the past to be a man of great heart, as exemplified by the magnanimity he showed after being taken out and shattering his leg thanks to a bonehead move by Kenan Sofuoglu, but pushing his bike across the line was an impressive piece of sportsmanship, passion, and an unwillingness to ever concede defeat. Simon finished 13th, scoring 3 precious points.

The MotoGP race lifted the hearts of the fans even further. Though the race was won on the first lap, by a brilliant and committed Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha man passing Dani Pedrosa at Garage Vert and never looking back, his performance was lost in the excitement of the battle for 2nd. That was undeserved; Lorenzo's race was a masterclass in riding in the rain, pushing when needed, being smooth when possible, and maintaining concentration for 28 long laps. Lorenzo's brake and clutch levers have the words "Mantequilla" (butter) and "Martillo" (hammer) engraved upon them; his race today was purest Mantequilla.

The excitement behind came from the group of four chasing, the two Tech 3 bikes of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, along with the Repsol Honda of Casey Stoner and the factory Ducati of Valentino Rossi. Both Dovizioso and Crutchlow looked in with a shot of their first podium, but both had their own problems. Dovizioso lacked traction, and so was making it up on the brakes, and wearing out his front tire, while Crutchlow had problems with power in a straight line (despite being fastest on the speed charts) causing the Englishman to push too hard into the corners. Both men crashed, but both men rejoined, the Tech 3 men proving that they are the toughest opposition behind Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

But the battle of the day was surely between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner. The two men whose rivalry has defined the last 6 years - and divided motorcycle racing fans into two, increasingly vituperative camps - came together with 4 laps to go, and fought a tense and thrilling battle until the penultimate lap, when Rossi finally got the better of the Australian. The result thrilled the crowd and lifted the spirits at Ducati - not least, for Rossi himself, reigniting a fire that has sometimes seemed to have guttered out in the Italian. It was gratifying to see Rossi fighting with the gusto which we know he possesses, and proving that he has not lost the skill he once had.

The problem is that the clash was exceptional, rather than ordinary. Circumstances played a massive role in bringing it about, as exciting as it turned out to be. The Ducati works superbly in the wet, paradoxically, as in the dry it lacks front-end feel and suffers from overly aggressive throttle response. That all goes away in the wet, even though logic dictates it should get worse rather than better. The paradox has baffled everyone, including Ducati, though they will take whatever they can get.

This does not mean that Ducati is out of the woods yet, however. "For sure, when you want the rain, you are in the sh*t," Rossi told the press conference. Getting a podium had been important for morale, but more important will be the test at Mugello on Wednesday and Thursday, when Rossi will test a new engine with some modifications to tame the power delivery. If that works, then they will have made real progress, and start to get closer to the front. The first target, Rossi explained, are the Tech 3 Yamaha bikes; if the Factory Ducatis can run with them, then that will already be major progress.

While the Ducati is faster in the wet, the Hondas appear to be struggling. Both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa complained of a complete lack of edge grip, the problem appearing to be an inability to get temperature into the tires in very cold, very wet conditions. Though Honda's engine is impeccable, and their chassis is both agile and stable, HRC appear to have completely misjudged the 2012 Bridgestone tires. In the dry, the Hondas have severe chatter where the Yamahas have very little, as do the Ducatis. In the wet, they struggle to get the tires to the correct temperature, either failing to get heat into them or else getting too much heat in, with the tires destroying themselves as a result. Honda really need more testing time if they are to fix this, but their first opportunity will come at Barcelona.

If the clash between Rossi and Stoner had demonstrated their passion - Stoner still has some, but the clash with his old rival was not enough to change his mind about racing, he said - Ben Spies appears to be almost entirely lacking. His performance has been dismal all year, and Le Mans was no different. A problem with his visor misting meant that he could not see while riding, and so he returned to the pits to get the problem fixed. He returned to the track once again, but by then, he was already a very long way down, and scored another forgettable result. Spies' problems have just about all been attributable to misfortune this season, but even then, Yamaha will start to lose patience at some point. Spies may be paying for his incredible run of luck during his AMA years, with the misfortune now coming as bunched together as his good luck in the AMA. Whatever the reason, he needs to turn his season around fast.

It was also pleasing to see James Ellison score his first points, also finishing as the first CRT bike. Though the practice of wheeling the first CRT bike into Parc Fermé serves more to underline the separate status of the class, disparaging the bikes rather than promoting them, having Ellison there was a moral victory for the Cumbrian. Two weeks ago, team boss Paul Bird had told British Eurosport that he would be moving Ellison aside to make way for Shane Byrne. That idea failed utterly to address the problems which Ellison was having, which center around chatter, and would merely have put another rider in exactly the same situation. Fortunately, PBM got help, in the form of a new set of electronics settings, from Aprilia which went a very long way to curing the problem. With the new electronics and a bit of help - not least from Randy de Puniet, who highsided on the grid when his launch control failed to deal with the treacherous conditions created by a pool of water - Ellison showed his boss just how wrong his thinking had been. The head, it is clear, is just as important as the heart.

Total votes: 224
Total votes: 59

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Comments

Excuse me David. I respect you as a journalist but calling Ben's years in the AMA battling against an extremely tough Mladin, luck, is like the comments about Rossi's tenure you've been writing about all season. Neither are luck by any stretch. You do a disservice to their accomplishments when you write such things as this. Ben is having a very tough time this season but that doesn't mean you should start trying to take away his results in the past or call them luck. Similar words you've written about Rossi this year and look at the result today and against who.

Total votes: 267

Agreed. Mladin may have seemed like a big fish in a little pool, but he is out and out one of the fastest and most rounded motorcycle racers on the planet. Spies managing to wrest three straight titles from Mladin was an epic achievement.

Total votes: 245

I certainly never meant to imply that luck played anything other than the smallest of roles in his AMA championships. While Spies was in the AMA, battling against Mladin, it was clear to me that he was a very special talent. One race in particular I remember - though to my shame, I cannot remember which track, I think Road Atlanta - where he started from the back of the grid and came through to finish second. I watched that race in awe, that was riding at 100%, exactly the kind of riding needed to be fast in MotoGP. I was a staunch defender and supporter of Spies when he was still in the AMA, and firmly believed he should have gone straight to MotoGP (though we would have missed out on that astounding WSBK year).

What I meant was that while he was in the AMA, everything ran smoothly, he very rarely seemed suffer mechanicals or equipment malfunctions. If he crashed during the race, his bike would keep running, that sort of luck. Not the kind of luck that wins you titles, but the kind of luck that makes things run just that little bit more smoothly.

Contrast with 2012, and issues he could do nothing about: a cracked subframe at Qatar and a badly misting visor at Le Mans. Even Jerez, the team just couldn't find a set up which Spies could ride. Only Estoril can be laid at the feet of Spies, where he was just so pleased to have a bike that was working that he made a mistake and overshot a couple of times.

That was the contrast I meant to make. 

Total votes: 233

The luck comment was spot on actually, without taking anything from Spies. He was on the best run team for sure, and really only racing one other guy. So if he had a bad day, he finished second and didn't really lose out on many points.

While good luck may not have had much of an impact, he didn't have much bad luck at all, and don't forget about Mladin's crankshaft DQ.

Total votes: 230

I'm a Ben fan but this year his results has been very disappointing. The issues he's been having seem to stem from not having proper preparation. Cracked subframes (from crashing) should be found if looked for, especially if the rider is complaining about handling issues. 20 other riders didn't have to pull in because of misting visors. Not finding a proper setup is not bad luck, its the team not being able to find a proper setup. Yosh Suzuki (his AMA team) was one of the best prepped teams in the paddock, that's why he had so few mechanicals in his AMA time. When he had a couple of mechanical issues in WSB he put his foot down and brought in more long time AMA crew members and the problems stopped. I wonder what his crew staffing options are in a factory GP team?

At the beginning of the year I scoffed at the notion that Ben would lose his factory seat but now think he will be very lucky to keep it. Both Tech 3 guys are chomping at the bit about Ben's seat and are both doing a good enough job to deserve it. With Stoner leaving all the top seats will be shaken up even more and Ben has a big hill to climb in making a case for another year in the factory team.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 207

I was just going to add the comment that winning AMA titles is one thing, but consistently beating Mat Mladin is an entirely different achievement in itself... some would say that anyone who manages that ought to receive a trophy as well!

Even so, I agree with comments that point out how well prepared his AMA team was. I get your point, but I am tending to think that it's not luck, but just plain hard work from everyone involved...

Total votes: 232

could
not
agree
more

with either of you. That line got my goat too

Total votes: 209

Spies certainly does need to turn his season around or the rest of the year will be as long as the start has been. Visors were a problem in all classes but I believe Spies is the only rider wearing a HJC helmet so maybe that didn't help his visor problem. Also I initially and still after reply after reply believe Rea was at fault for him falling. Zarco had a opening and Rea wasn't on that line. Zarco took it and Rea just happened to want to be where Zarco already was.

Total votes: 222

I think that the rain performance fits with their latest version of what's the bike problem. They say that the engine's aggressive power delivery makes the rear tyre push the front of the bike causing understeer forcing them to open the throttle later. The engine is probably mapped with less power and a smother power delivery for the rain (why would you want all that power in the wet?). They also say there are traction problems on corner exit which is less important on the rain. It also fits with Rossi's comment about the bike being better later on the race when the tyres are worn.
As for the front end feel; wasn't that a lot better now? keeping them from crashing and so on.

Total votes: 215

I Know its his thing, but surely an inspired ride from Westy from 27th to 7th (up to 5th for a good part of the end) and only 20 secs from Luthi on a POS. That surely deserves of a mention, or is it just such a common occurence on a wet day that we leave it uncredited?

Total votes: 250

I declare that I enjoyed both rounds, however, truthfully, what was the actually difference between the LeMans and Estoril MotoGP races?

In both, the leader cleared out and was never challenged.
At LeMans the passes were for 2nd place. At Estoril it was for 4th place.
But then, the best race has always been down the pack.

If you ignore the hubris around Stoner and V.Rossi, it shows deep troubles in the "show". The ONLY way for any spectacle in MotoGP is for a "failure" by one of the leaders. By this I mean either a physical problem, a setup woe,tyre woes or bike woes.

The comparison to SBK race 2 at Donington is stark. SBK had more than 4 of the top riders battling at full strength (and equal) for the win (plus the podium positions). The best we can get in MotoGP is a fight for a podium position.

Jorge ran a great race, no denying that, but the setup sweet spot is so focused, Stoner, V.Rossi were unable to mount any credible challenge. Even the satellite Yamahas crashed out of the "show" due to similar woes.

Truthfully ignore the Stoner & V.Rossi rivalry. Count the passes. It is scary what now accounts for a "great race". The Dorna official "Race Winning Overtake" highlight replay confirms this fully.

Total votes: 230

is suffering from the sheer level of expertise and finese that the top riders posess. Just as others on this site have said in defense of motogp over WSBK, you watch the race in awe of the precsion of the riders and the machinery. Watching in utter awe today as these guys are head down and on the razors edge in conditions that I hate to take my car out in, Gavin stated on today's broadcast on motogp.com that these riders just do not make mistakes.

As i posted last week (changed my name from Spies for President), if given the choice between SBK and Moto2, it's a toss up. They are both exciting, but as someone pointed out and I thought a great observation, the races are great because there are a lot of mistakes being made that others are able to capitalize on.

that said, that the race winning overtake took place on the first lap is stunningly telling.

Total votes: 193

have to agree with this. riders were falling like dominos in the moto2 race, and no one was going down in motoGP, except cal and dovi, who both got up and recovered. The riders in motogp are the very best in the world, and three of them are top 5 or top 10 of all time - so talented and disciplined and intelligent that they make it look easy - and boring.
But for me seeing them in action is exhilirating!

Total votes: 223

One reason the MotoGP boys weren't falling like ninepins, is that they have traction control and corner-by-corner engine mapping.

So for those that think they should get rid of rider aids, think what its going to be like when your favorite rider slieds off, a la Moto3 or Moto2 at Le Mans.

Total votes: 219

Maybe Ben should send mommy home and turn his hat around like a man. Just saying...

Total votes: 259

He needs to lose the big glasses, turn the hat around, worry about his bike with the motor that pays for his team with the pedals, show a little a passion and get his head into the game. I hate to say, but, I am now questioning his commitment and heart. Two weeks ago i visited his webpage (after another dismal performance and rather than talking about what he needs to fix, he was giving "shout outs" to his bike team. Please.

Several years ago while walking the paddocks under Schwantz, it was just assumed he would get there. WSBK title was amazing, but he has taken his spot for granted.

Total votes: 237

I'm sure Spies hasn't taken for granted his spot. His contract is up this year and he sees what Cal and Dovi are doing. Giving a shout out to his winning bicycle team on HIS website, I don't see that as cause for questioning his commitment. It's HIS site, HIS team, they had a great race and won. Why wouldn't you expect him to give a shout out? Just because he had a bad weekend in GP? There are other things besides MotoGP in riders lives.

Total votes: 214

When you see someone having bad results but still spending time with (and even having) a bicycle race team is a bit questionable. This is top level GP racing. Give it your all or give your seat to someone who will.

>>Just because he had a bad weekend in GP?

4 races, 4 bad weekends, last Yamaha across the line each time. Its crunch time. Forget about bicycling and focus on improving your results.

>>There are other things besides MotoGP in riders lives.

Not for the ones at the front.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 243

So a rider who hasn't had results should just focus on the negative all the time. Really? That's how you perform better - by thinking constantly about the bad things? Doesn't sound right to me, but whatever works for you...

Total votes: 205

But nothing I typed. The point was if you are not having good results then bear down and devote all your effort to getting better results. If you are having problems then find someone who can help. If your crew is having problems then sit down and try to figure them out. He is a professional motorcycle racer and has access to the same resources as the person leading the series. Focus on the task at hand. I'm sure Lin Jarvis does not care about the results of Ben's bicycle team, only Ben's MotoGP results.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 232

Dissapointing results for Ben this year. We've seen him fight through difficulties in both AMA and WSBK. If he were missing team meetings, not training off-season, fighting with his team, making up lame excuses for his results that'd be one thing. But I just don't see a direct correlation between him writing checks for a burger joint and bike team and his lack of results.

Total votes: 200

4 races and 4 bad weekends, I see where you're coming from. At the same time to think that he has lost his commitment to his team is bit of a stretch.

I don't think he's lost his focus, he knows what he needs to do. It's mentally on the track getting there. I think he has lost his confidence.

"Not for the ones out front" - Really?? So Stoner isn't interested in anything else besides MotoGP? I seem to remember Rossi doing rallys and testing a F1 car during the season while he was leading the championship. You can only focus so much on one thing before you burn yourself out. A little break to see whats going in the rest of the world isn't a bad thing. Doesn't mean you've lost your focus.

Total votes: 186

You answered yourself haven't you.. Its only been four races and he has been bad in all of them. Even last year was a lackluster year for him, only one win on a factory bike that was capable of fighting for championship?

Journalist's don't bother to cover Ben anymore because he has been nowhere at the front! While is team-mate is leading the championships now.

You say Rossi was out rallying and testing F1 car and stuff - when he was leading the championship not when he was trailing his teammate by a huge margin.

I'm nobody to comment upon Ben's commitment we will never know what is happening inside his quarters. But it would be better if he focuses 100% right away and start getting the results for the team and himself.

I would love to see Ben mix it up with Casey, Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Not only does he have the capability to win races but also has the machinery to fight for victories and championships.

Total votes: 196

First, I love motomatters, by far the best coverage of the motorcycle world. David is insightful, informed and passionate about what he does. That being said I have to thank Bricktop for addressing the ridiculous treatment of Stoner's retirement. I know their are now 2 camps of motogp followers now, Rossi and Stoner.
For the first time ever reading motomatters I wanted to puke at David's gushing praise of Stoner on Thursday. Stoner is an amazing talent and I commend him for doing what he feels is right for him. But when comparing careers and talent (in my opinion) Stoner doesn't come close. Lets see world championships: Rossi: 125, 250, 500, 990, and 800, Stoner: 800. Total count 9 to 2 (soon to be 3). The Stoner camp which now is clearly lead here is so dismisive of Rossi's achievements, it was all luck and timing. I've always found the coverage on this site to be balanced, but in this regard it has been ridiculous. Stoner "manhandles" the bike into submission, while Rossi has only ever won on the best bike. This debate reminds me so much of American politics and why that system is failing miserably. Rossi is the GOAT, Stoner is an unbelievable talent deserving of his championships. Why can't both sides just agree that they are the best we may see in our lifetimes without constantly claiming that one of them has his championships handed to him. You can in fact say Stoner is great without saying Rossi is shit and vice versa.

Total votes: 275

MccArthd26, I feel fanaticism has taken over journalism here in regards to this. The constant finger pointing, beratement, led to dismissing or trivializing one's record is shameful. It has been done to Vale all season, one of only two men in history to get to 100 wins. Now Ben got lucky with all those AMA championships fighting tooth and nail with Mat.

If Rossi's career was all luck, right place right time, all this stuff that has been written lately, then how did he beat the world champ, who has a much better bike, today? I guess it was luck?

Total votes: 242

meh, Rossi was regarded as the GOAT. Stoner was regarded as a crasher who got lucky on the best bike.
But, let Stoner choose his bike, let Rossi choose his bike and get rid of the other riders and run the MotoGP season. Who wins?
The answer would go for many pages in web arguments, but what it means is that Rossi may not be the GOAT and Stoner is maybe not one trick wonder. Therefore, Rossi gets a knock (ie challenging whether he is the GOAT) and Stoner gets praised (suggesting he may be an equal of the GOAT).
But to sum it up, who would pay to watch match races between Rossi and Stoner?
I suspect a lot of people, because I think they are closely matched.

Total votes: 247

My comment was based over this article, several on thursday, as well as several others through this season. As I stated, I think that Mr. Emmett is supremely talented and I look forward to reading my motomatters every day.

I've just been dissapointed this last year that he has made it so clear that he believes Stoner is the greatest thing since sliced bread. On thursday he writes, "Stoner's legacy will not outshine Valentino Rossi's, though I would argue that his talent does." Everyone has a right to thier own opinion and David has certainly earned the right to tell us his. However, the context of the preceding and following paragraphs is troubling. He takes the tactics of internet posting armchair racers (ironic) of trying to make everyone understand why we should feel sorry for Stoner while simultaneously understanding why Rossi is an "embarassment" on the Ducati.

Just disturbed by how recent articles on Motomatters have discussed how Rossi was just at the right place at the right time, always on the best bike. I've been riding and racing motorcycles my whole life. Never at an level worth mentioning. Watching Rossi still win over 100 races and 9 world championships it's amazing that Stoner fans can discount his unimaginable talent. What he has done and continues to do is understand something that Stoner never understood. They have the privilege to ride the greatest motorcycles in the world. Why do they have this great privilege?? Talent. Oh and one more thing, these companies want you to advertise for them. You know... pay their bills. Rossi may not love media days and photo shoots, but he isn't constantly reminding you that he just wants to race (Stoner doesn't even like practice, his words, not mine). Rossi is engaing, he makes you want to watch. He has brought more casual fans to this great sport we enjoy than anyone else ever will. How? By winning, and doing it with style and character. Stoner can't and won't ever do that. Walking away and blaming the media and fans for their lack of sympathy or DORNA for changing rules to try to engage the fans (the ones that pay for HIS salary) is just.. well Casey Stoner.

Total votes: 267

I’m not a fishing fan, not a gardening fan, I don’t watch truck racing and I don’t give two shits for mending fences. I’m a motorcycle road racing fan, all of it. AMA, BSB and WSBK but mainly a MotoGP fan. I love it. The technology, the science, the engineering, titanium this and carbon fiber that, and the talent, cunning and sheer balls it takes to run up front. The teams, factories, riders and spectacle that is MotoGP. The idea of a Japanese bike being raced in Spain by a Brit with a French / Italian / Brit crew, sponsored by a French company. A circus that travels the globe racing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans while millions watch on TV.
So if Casey Stoner doesn’t like the way his job has turned out, I have one piece of unsolicited advice for him - Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.
There are only about a million guys out there that would love a chance to hop on his full factory ride and show what they’ve got (John Hopkins). The best bikes on the best tracks in the world (Tommy Hill). Wow, what a bad deal. Poor guy. I, Like millions of others, paid for my bike along with the slew of upgrades and slicks. I pay for my track days and race gas. Drive myself up, sleep in crap motels or camp. When I crash and the whole thing get crushed and needs to be put back together, I pay for that as well. You don’t even like practicing? I’ll practice for you. Casey was fast. So what. Cal Crutchlow is fast. Dovi is fast. Marc Marquez is fast, Scott Redding is fast, Luthi, Iannone, and Smith are fast. AMA’s Blake Young is fast and if you saw him at VIR you know he has more heart and love for racing than most. Casey Stoner in 2013, mentioned occasionally. Casey Stoner in 2014, who?
Guys quit sports all the time. Huge careers. GOAT’s. Game changers. Lance Armstrong and Michael Jordan, Joe Montana or Michael Schumacher type careers. And yes, when he does leave, a Valentino Rossi type career. And when they leave they say things like “it’s been the greatest honor of my life”.... “I feel lucky beyond my wildest dreams to”... “I can’t say enough about the guy’s I’ve played with or against”.... “I want to thank”....
What they don’t do is piss and moan about they’re job and refer to the sport as having become something beneath them. Something not worth they’re time or just a big pain in their ass. I’m surprised Repsol doesn’t can him now.
Is he fast? Without a doubt, yes. So what. Have a nice time fishing. Maybe they’ll retire your number. Wait, I can’t remember your number. If GOAT means Going Out Acting like a Twat, It’s all you.

Total votes: 290

...my friend. You don't judge a man till you walk a mile in his shoes.

As a self-proclaimed passionate fan of motorcycling, you may have also read how Casey's family gave up their lives in Oz in order to support his motorcycling career in Europe - paying for his stuff, his trackdays, the petrol, the crap motels, living in caravans etc. He has worked his arse off to get to where he is to be able to show the world the talent he has. If he decides that his family and young daughter, the very people who sacrificed their all for his success is more important that having to deal with the politics and shenanigans - full respect to him. Casey has grown up in the school of very hard knocks.

You sound like Casey has always been an entitled prince who got on to a great bike, did great things and has now decided he doesn't like it and walks away. Pity - because it is completely the opposite of the truth. And yours is the very kind of perspective that Casey has decided he wants little of. A perspective that has nothing to do with racing - but one rather embittered about entitlement.

Full marks and respect to David for his dignity and restraint at the kind of tone being used here - all couched under this veneer of praise. David brings a very special level of insight to help us understand why Casey has been so special. Everybody struggles. Some overcome their battles. Many others don't. David has been doing a brilliant job of chronicling the rise of Casey and why he should be where he is. Obviously, you're most welcome to disagree but if you can't be respectful about your disagreement and use more sensible language - hey, many other sites out there. And don't let the door...

Total votes: 260

...I make a slight break with tradition.

I try to keep SOME amount of tongue-in-cheek in all my posts. Usually, it's a LOT, but I always want to keep from being too serious.

That said, I'm having a TERRIBLE time trying to find a way to keep from being stone-faced serious in this reply to your post. Why? Because I cannot find a point with which I disagree. I can't find a sentence. I'm working on finding an objectionable letter. OK...maybe just an objectionable consonant...

Let's put it this way: If you'll send me your fax number, I'll sign and date a legally binding document stating that I am your friend for life.

It's not enough to JUST DO ONLY ONE THING WELL. Especially when a person does just that one thing well, and then basically tells the world/his bosses to "F*** OFF" when they expect him to do more than just climb on and twist the throttle.

Better yet, I have an idea for David:

David, we already acknowledge you as the best reporter on MotoGP in the world, but NOW...how about you continue to tell it like you see it from now on...

But do it like Casey.

By that, I mean that you should STOP GIVING ANY extra services to the people who pay membership fees on MM. After all, manually removing the ads from MM for the paying customers HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH MotoGP, its racers, the races, the championship standings, typing, your motorcycle with which you go to some races, or how effectively you listen, record, and report the news stories, so you're not gonna do it. It's an inconvenience, and so you won't do it. Besides, as always, they're getting the best reporting already, so why do more?

Show us just how PURE you are. Show us that you're not some pandering primadonna. Show us that you don't give a CRAP what we think or feel. Show us that you are THE TRUEST FORM OF REPORTING PURITY, BECAUSE YOU DO NOTHING BUT SHOW UP, REPORT, AND THEN BACK HOME TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO, WITH NO FRIVOLITIES LIKE INTERNET OR CABLE TV, because they just clutter your life, thereby keeping you away from doing the things you want to do with your time when away from the races and the reporting.

Show us by reporting ONLY on race day, and then taking FISHING TRIPS or RIDES ACROSS EUROPE in the intervening time, because you can't be bothered with answering emails. After all, answering an email isn't going to make you type up race reports any better or more quickly or accurately, and besides, answering emails can get tedious, which could kill your love of the "sport" of reporting on the sport of racing.

Take a sabbatical with no forewarning. Leave the site hanging for three races.

Show us that YOU don't need US, but it is WE who need YOU.

Do all you can to keep from losing your passion for reporting...by avoiding anything that might take too much time away from the moments you are standing in the paddock, watching and listening. And then by avoiding anything to do with MM between races.

Because that's "David Time", not "MM Time".

Is this making any sense? Are you getting it?

Basically, Casey has been paid to do a job. He has kept it as a "payment for services rendered" type thing. To put it in Dutch (or at least Amsterdam) terms, Casey charges by the hour, for acts he will perform for parties willing to pay him to perform said acts. He climbs on the bike, rides it, then leaves with the cash he receives from his client (in this case, HRC). It's simple, and feelings don't get involved.

On the other hand, people who work like that shouldn't expect much emotional attachment from their clients (or fans), because that's not how it has ever worked, so why gripe about it? I think a more honest approach woulda been:

"I've never given a S**T about any of you, nor what you think of me. You've always known that you can all f**k off. Every day of the week. And twice on Sunday. None of you have two wheels, so I don't even want 40 minutes with any of you on a Sunday afternoon. For some reason or other, you weren't nice to me, despite my riding in plain view, where you all could see me. What more did you want?

That's a partial interp from me. Still, mccarthd26, you wrote one DAMN fine post.

Just fax that legal doc to me any ol' time, and I'll sign it and send it back...

Total votes: 262

I consider retiring about 3 times a day, every race weekend. And then I get back home, see that I have a wholesale clean up of the site to perform after it has been infected with the vitriol that fans seem to feel the need to spew, and think about retiring all over again. The beauty of the sport, and all of its practitioners, is what keeps me coming back. It is my passion. I don't know how long I can sustain that passion, but as I've been watching bike racing just about all of my life, I'll probably make it to the end of the season at least.

Total votes: 262

I am *shocked* to hear that. Right here on our Internet!

You might do what Daring Fireball and others have done, and just turn comments off. Really motivated (or deranged) fans can still email you, and if there is something that is worthy you can always repost it.

I come here for the articles, and usually enjoy the comments too, or at least about half. If the comments went away, I'd still come. And if the comments make you go away, that's a bad deal all around.

Keep up the good work. You have many silent fans, so don't take the spew as the consensus.

Ironically written as a comment... ;)

PS. Any relation to Gavin?

Total votes: 216

I frankly quitted commenting after the vituperous Stoner / Rossi comments became so large which of course is a shame but I am reading your pieces with the same interest and awe.
To me "quality of journalism" and "alignment with my thoughts/likes" do not belong the same equation. I may not agree with you at time nonetheless I always appreciate a different point of view and a valid writing style. And it would be a shame of loosing it because of the above.

Aside from retiring I would rather consider suppressing the comments. Of the two the latter!

(or maybe it is all a joke and you are trying to emulate Stoner in getting an hype in retiring and blaming the media for it)*

*I am quite condfident your read it as pure LOL irony

Total votes: 224

David,

Unfortunately you seem to be a victim of your success. As the reputation of your site has spread, so it seems that the trolls have found another outlet for their spiteful diatribes against anyone (particularly you know whom).

It'as a pity that compared to just 12 months or so ago, absurd ignorant comments have increased here.

Only thing I reckon you can do, to avoid fans losing this site and keep your sanity, is to make this a pay only site. I'd pay if I was confident that having to fork out a few bucks may be a disincentive to the posters that have just recently started to contaminate this otherwise sensible & well written site.

Food for thought.

Total votes: 217

''I"d pay if i was confident..." Pony up dude this is the best site on the web for
wsbk and Moto Gp content,put ypur money where your mouth is.

Total votes: 224

tl,

I would have long ago if I had any spare cash. I haven't been able to work for a year due to health issues, that's why I've got the time to post comments.

Paying to become a supporter won't do a thing to stop the trolls.

However, if it costs to become a member, you wouldn't get many, if any, of the cretins joining, that may convince me to find the cash (assuming its a reasonable cost), especially if it was the only way to save this site.

Respect to you dude for paying up yourself.

Total votes: 233

David, I think you would be as great a loss to the sport as Casey Stoner!

Hell, I might even put my money where my mouth is and become a site supporter.

Total votes: 213

The Nuevo-Gp supporters will be gone soon.

The fly-by-night, no-nothings that like to pick on each and every word and dissect it to death.

Fuck em.

And if you want a site comments editor, I have plenty of time ;)

Total votes: 214

Get over it. As a follower of the sport rather than a fan of any particular rider much of the fanatic commentary from each side has become tiresome.
As for this piece, the double standards are shocking:

The only rider swearing in interviews on the w/e was Rossi.
As for engaging with the public, it's funny how we know Stoners wife, see photos of hs daughter on Twitter and read great technical interviews on how he spins his rear wheel on various tracks.
Yet I couldn't tell you if Rossi is married or not, if he has kids or even if he is gay.
Not that i vaguely care but apparently it's a secret.
As for biting the hand that feed you - the only comments from a rider trashing their bike (and thus employer) this year has been Rossi dumping on Ducati from a great height.

Competing in any sport at the top level is demanding. However, while the bulk of the championship is held in Europe it will always be tougher for the top riders from outside Europe. Daryl Beattie discussed this point over the w/e. Hayden's comments on having to miss a siblings wedding when the schedule changed last year confirm this.

Stoner has been competing as a career in Europe since he was 14. He has achieved his goals in the sport. He is not interested in records. If he wants to move on let him. He will be missed but there is plenty of talent on the way up. I'm keen to see Marquez ad Bradl and Bautista prove there wares.
Much better than seeing has-beens like Capirossi clogging up the rear of the field.

Total votes: 236

I'm Retiring at the end of 2012 from reading comments on MM. People ask me... "why, you're so young, you have so many years of reading comments ahead of you", but after reading comments like the one above, I say, if not now, when? When's it going to stop?

I simply don't have the same passion for reading comments that I used to.

Total votes: 238

This may be the most ridiculous comment I've ever read on this site. I'm sorry if Casey hurt your feelings.

Total votes: 215

People who deny Rossi's talent are blind fanboys.

People who deny Stoner's talent are blind fanboys.

That said, I think the GOAT title shouldn't even be thought about. Its too hard to compare the minutia of details that every rider goes through in his career. Yes, Rossi has a lot more wins and titles than Stoner but even someone like Kenny Roberts say that one of Rossi's talents is getting the right bike to ride. That's a huge benefit, just look at Rossi's results when on a bike he does not like.

There is the one statistic that to me should invalidate any discussion of Rossi as the GOAT: during the time they have both been in the premier class Stoner has won more races then Rossi. If you want to be declared the GOAT you have to be the dominant rider on the track at least during the period when you are competing. Since Rossi does not have the best win record since 2006 when Stoner entered the class then by definition Rossi cannot be the GOAT. Yes, he is one of the best ever, mega talented, media darling, etc, but since 2006 Stoner has more wins. See, no talking about best bike, worst bike, race celebrations, how many fans they have brought to the sport, etc. Wins while racing concurrently is a good comparison of relative success.

>>Stoner can't and won't ever do that. Walking away and blaming the media and fans for their lack of sympathy or DORNA for changing rules to try to engage the fans (the ones that pay for HIS salary) is just.. well Casey Stoner.

Yes, but his reluctance to be a media personality has nothing to do with his extreme talent. What do you think Rossi means when he says that Stoner rode the Ducati in a special way? I'm sure Rossi would do it if he could but he has said multiple times that he can't. If one of the greatest racers of all time is saying he cannot duplicate the techniques of another one of the greatest racers of all time (who are competing at the same time) I'd think that second rider was pretty special. Oh, and Honda pay his salary.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 226

>>People who deny Rossi's talent are blind fanboys.

>>People who deny Stoner's talent are blind fanboys.

Both guys are clearly geniuses on bikes. They're both phenomenons. I feel lucky to be a fan in a time when the bar is so high.

Total votes: 205

This change to the editorial position of enthusiastically supporting an individual rider is the reason I stopped regularly reading MM. But the author's condition is not unique. Most blogs lose track of the difference between 'editorial' and 'reportorial' works. Most blog writers are not formally trained. For a few hundred years writers creating descriptions of current events have developed methods to maintain an objective position while disseminating ideas and reflecting current events. We have come to take these divisions for granted and assume that anything in a general 'news' format will follow these methods. This assumption is our, the reader's, mistake.

The pattern of blurred editorial/reportorial lines is repeated across multi-million dollar generating blogs with many writers on staff as well as Herculean one-man-shows. It's disappointing to read how a favorite online work drifts one way or another out of the range that made us enjoy it in the first place. But I think it's something to expect in our developing online world. Now I prefer to read less inspired but more to-the-point reports. While it's a shame that MM is off my bookmarked regular reading list, I'm more disappointed at the passing of Motogpnews.com. I'll take humor over a beautiful word picture any day. Reality isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Total votes: 237

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is I do. I am trying to mix analysis with a bit of reporting and a smattering of opinion. Sometimes I get it right, more often than not I get it wrong. Gotta keep trying, I guess.

Total votes: 207

I don't think you do anything particularly wrong. The problem (to me) is that everyone in or around MotoGP insist on measuring Casey's talent by Rossi's measure. Almost every comment on Casey's talent or career (by fans or professionals) has some comparison to Rossi. In that sense he is not good or bad he is better or worse than Rossi. While I see several reason as to why that is, saying that Stoner is better will angry Rossi fans and viceversa. And since fanaticism is a form of passion it is inevitable that you'll get a passionate response.
Let us not forget that people who comment here take time out of their days to read and discuss something completely inconsequential to their lives so they are exactly that; fans, fans of the races, the riders, the engineering or whatever. And of course lets for the love of god remember that without that fandom and without that passion there would be no MotoGP.
So, my advise to you is to take a lesson from Casey's sad (to the sport) retirement and learn to focus on the good things and don't suffer from what you can't change (even though I consider giving unrequested advice to a stranger to be an arrogant lack of respect).

Total votes: 240

Keep doing what you're doing please.

Despite the rhetoric from the "rabid fans" I for one trust that your analysis is exactly that, analysis. Something that is frankly absent from every other english language website minus a few, (I'm told the Italian/Spanish websites delve a little deeper).

The press releases are frankly dis-countable imho. I have no need to read PR fluff. What I do have an interest in is hearing the real story from some one such as yourself who has his ears and eyes on the ground, in the paddock, in the press scrums, passing conversation with pit crews, etc.. etc.. etc..

That's the kind of information you simply can't find from the mainstream websites and that's what make MM indispensable for me.

Please keep doing what you're doing, the silent majority more than appreciates your words and efforts.

Don't change a thing.

Total votes: 255

I keep coming back because you can get the press releases and results at any website but the combination of analysis and opinion here are top notch.

I think you get so much flack from the various rabid fans because you take an upbeat approach on every article. On a Rossi article you acknowledge his accomplishment and talent and don't take him to the woodshed over current results because there is no need to. This annoys the rabid Stoner fans. On Stoner articles you so try to see from his perspective, which drives the yellow legions mad.

Either way you are telling it like it is but as usual the extreme 5% on either side drive the direction of the comments. In the long run who cares, its the articles you are responsible for and they are great.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 274

I don't always agree with thecosman, but he hit it out of the park there. I'm of the opinion the MotoMatters content is equal to the rest of the other sites combined, it's definitely been the goto destination for GP news for a long time.

Total votes: 231

David, you clearly love the sport. When you love something, you can't help but have an opinion about it, and it is difficult not to express that opinion. Some people get confused and think that their own opinion is fact, therefore any differing opinion must be fallacy, and must be smote down. You are clearly intelligent enough to not suffer from this delusion, and I welcome your opinion for that, even if it differs from my own sometimes.

Rather than disabling comments, have you ever considered restricting them to subscribers?

Total votes: 214

figuring out your voice is no easy feat. I’m surprised you still wrestle with how you balance the tone of MM. I felt for sure over the years MM had grown into the platform for your opinion, which is what kept me coming back.

Lately there is the usual smattering of press releases and now Jared writing for you. If I wanted to read Jareds handiwork I’d go to MotoRaceReports, although theres not much to read there of any worth. For a site that calls itself MotoRaceREPORTS theres very little reporting going on last I checked.

No, I come (or came) to MM to read David’s original content; usually well informed and nicely crafted opinion and analysis. I dont need blow by blow reporting, I’m sure I saw the race in question. I dont need the press releases, I can get those all day long at RRW - a site that has virtually zero original content.

It’s not easy, but I admire you for how you have managed and grown the site over the years, but the current trend is not going to keep me coming back. I’m just one voice in an ocean of fans, but hey, the comment button was right there…

Total votes: 216

David! Please Please ignore 'Brookespeeds' and some of the other comments.. I read your articles BECAUSE they offer some expert opinion on the issues at hand as well providing editorial fact based journalism. Also, I think you're really the first journalist to have the courage not to just praise Rossi blindly at every turn just because his fans dominate the spectating public. Far from being biased I think youve actually brought some balance to GP journalism. For a long period there it seemed if a journalist wanted his articles to be read or published they had to have a strong bias towards Rossi and downplay the talent of any rider who beats him or they just wouldn't get picked up. The media treatment of Biaggi, Gibernau and even Stoner early on was just shameful. Where here if Rossi has had bad race, made or dumb move or just not doing a great job you've had the backbone to tell it like it is from the off. And equally Rossi's achievements and great races such as at Le Mans get the plaudits they deserve in equal measure. The sport was crying out for coverage like yours and I think other publications and journalist are following your lead. Keep up the good work.

Total votes: 195

Hey Brooke,

Instead of saying this: "This change to the editorial position of enthusiastically supporting an individual rider is the reason I stopped regularly reading MM"

then following it up by writing several paragraphs why you disagree, maybe you should shut up, and write your own blog.

Seriously. The rest of us don't want to listen to you whine.

Total votes: 240

I did shut up. I used to be a regular commenter and reader for several years. Then when it jumped the shark and discussions in the comment sections were moderated to the degree where the baby gets tossed out with the bath water I decided it was a waste of time to participate directly. But upon reading some talk of retirement by the creator of the blog I thought I'd point out why some people have problems with confusing editorialism and reporting. This was for the purpose of just putting in my 2 cents on why people are some folks are disappointed by personal opinion of the single person creating content for the site. If YOU don't like what I've left as comments and YOU speak for everyone, please tell all the rest of the gang to personally write Mr. Emmit requesting to suspend my account and banish my evil thoughts and ideas for eternity. Please.

Total votes: 224

David, here's your first vote.

Total votes: 224

It's a flawed concept to presume that any human being can write an entirely objective article. They can try, but individual views, opinions and prejudices are bound to creep into any article. And to be fair, the only way to present an entirely objective report of a race would be to present the race result, with no comment at all. Be careful what you ask for...

Of course, what the objectors want to see is an article that validates their personal views, opinions and prejudices. Perhaps those people would be better off setting up their own site, where they would have free rein to indulge themselves. But I doubt they'd get as many readers and as much respect in the GP paddock as David does.

Total votes: 204

Yes, I was a big fan of MotoGPnews.com and a paid up member when it went arse up.....the content on that site was great and often would piss myself laughing...the sites is still on the net...go have a look and have a laugh....I miss it!

Total votes: 219

You mean who would win today? That is the gist of it, I do believe both Stoner and Lorenzo are overall better riders than Rossi at this current day, both being in their prime and Rossi 4-5 years over it, having achieved stats almost noone has ever reached (and to which Lorenzo won't get close IMO).

I'll take 2004-2005 Rossi every day over current Lorenzo and Stoner.

Total votes: 241

...sure as HELL proves that Rossi is WELLLLLLLLLL PAST that prime that he "used to be in"...

;-)

Total votes: 227

Well being the GOAT (IMO) allows him to show some genius even when not at his peak. ;) Seriously though, Rossi was positively Stoner-esque in those years in man-handling the Hondas and Yamahas at will to the sort I haven't seen from him since the beginning of 2009 AT LEAST. Just my opinion, but Rossi has definitely lost some ability throughout the years in pure riding aggression and raw pace.

Total votes: 219

How through all this does he not get any blame or negative coverage?? He has finished behind the old, slow, washed up Rossi in every race while his team mate on the same bike is winning races? I hope that someone at Yamaha is smart enough to give that bike to Cal or Dovi.

Total votes: 173

Has been the fastest Moriwaki all season - everyone else has dumped the chassis but again he is stuck on the dog. Somebody give him a fast bike for a season so we can truthfully say its not the bike and shut up about it

Total votes: 196

I agree with the earlier poster regarding Spies past "good luck." I watched almost every AMA race and then of course we all saw what he did in WSB. Those victories and championships were not luck. He was incredible...

Equally, however, what is happening now is NOT just bad luck. For the moment, the Tech 3 bikes are technically equivalent, so that makes 3 guys who are spanking Spies in every quali and every race. Dovi struggled initially but now he is up to speed...all of them riding in the same conditions. There can't be an excuse or bad luck in every quali and every race...

These things never "happen" to Lorenzo....he is truly incredible...but until last year, I thought Spies was too. We don't talk about it, but Spies' performance last year was disappointing as well, saved only by a solitary win that he may not have gotten if Lorenzo hadn't crashed out.

I'm a Spies fan, but I'd rather have another performer up there fighting and making the races more interesting. Come on Spies, clock is ticking!

Total votes: 176

What a great race. What an awesome battle between Rossi and Stoner. As a Rossi fan, I didn't care who won between the two, it was just great to see them going at each other cleanly and aggressively. If it happened all over again the results may be swapped, but who cares, it was great to see them on track together. This may be the last time we get to see them fight like this. This one is staying on my DVR.

And I was equally happy to see them both happily shake hands and respect each other on the cool down lap, and in the post race conference. I wish the fans, on both sides, would follow their lead.

It was also great to see Lorenzo get a dominate victory. It closes the championship up again, and hopefully gives him one little extra tick of confidence for the rest of the season to keep it a close race to the end.

Total votes: 192

...completely misjudged the 2012 Bridgestone tires..."

Could this be because neither factory rider has been particularly willing to put in significant testing laps in the wet?

How many wet tires are available to the teams for testing?

Total votes: 182

I agree completely, was surprised how often the HRC camp stayed in the garage at testing - hard to fix chatter without it chattering...

Total votes: 196

For all those posturing on the fate of Ben Spies at this point of the season, it is worth looking back to the same date a year ago... 

He has 2 fewer points, but is actually a position higher in the Championship.  This is, essentially, meaningless because everyone would assume he should be ahead of his position from last year, but it is worth asking:  "What is happening in his team garage the first 4 races?"

Cases in point:

1).  Why did his bike nearly fly out from underneath him the way Randy de Puniet's did?

2).  Clearly, Yamaha do not have a say in what helmet their riders wear (and are sponsored by), but it seems at least twice every year, HJC are fingered for a disappointing Ben Spies finish.

Total votes: 194

Was it the last corner, or the first?
I'm not sure it was boneheaded. The speed diff was so big, it may have been difficult to slow up without hitting Rea in those conditions. It looked to me like Gino was a bit shaken up from his near highside in the previous corner and bottled out.

The other point is that Rea's front wheel was taken out by Zarco's rear. In principle then, JZ was already past and GR just needed to stand it up a little... but then in a 250km/h corner in the rain, nothing is easy.

All easy from my chair, but life on a bike in those conditions might have made calm decisions... challenging.

Total votes: 184

No, its been obvious for quite a while, always take your opportunity to watch these young men ride. You never know when it's going to be over. The race was interesting, seems like 'experience' was the real winner.

Louis Rossi, at his local track. Ant West flying throw the pack on a wet day.
Gorge, Casey and Vale upfront, with Dani choosing not to fight on a rainy day.

While those with just a couple of years of experience on a 250+ HP motogp bike seemed to throw it away - nothing very shocking about any of it really, but it was interesting all the same.

Total votes: 189

I am amazed that you repeat the worn out old sayings about those who crashed out are "those who wanted it too much"

I can only assume that you have never raced a bike in the wet. Anybody who has knows that sh*t happens - you do this lap exactly what you did last time, and you lose the front. This is what we saw over and over again yesterday. If the falls had been the result of overly ambitious overtaking moves (think Rossi vs. Stoner last year) then you comment would ring true - as it is I think it is a classic example of uninformed armchair criticism. These racers deserve better.

Total votes: 218

The riders who stayed on and won knew they had to keep something in reserve, exactly because conditions change moment by moment, corner by corner. Those who crashed all say that they did exactly the same thing in every corner as they did last lap, because it worked then. That is what I mean by wanting it too much. Perhaps they were just being overly optimistic about the conditions.

Total votes: 197

@mccarthd26
@duffyg
@Crimson Tide
Your latest comments here have been the best written,best thought out and articulated ones I´ve had the pleasure to read here for qiete a while-thank you for that...MM needs that pretty bad.
You hit the nail on the head so much I can´t add anything, because they are so true.
Best regards.

Total votes: 187

@ mccarthd26

Who are the best people to judge racers? ...the general public? ....the fans? ....the Journalists?

In my opinion, all great sports-people are Judged by their peers. They are the ones who not only have to beat them in competition, but get to see them up close and personal in their chosen field.

How many of the top ten riders in MotoGP refer to Valentino as the GOAT? ...none, it is a acronym made up by his fans (as is the word 'alien' first used by Colin Edwards). How many of the top 10 riders in MotoGP refer to Casey as the most talented rider of the modern era ....at least two, maybe three.

Now I'm not anti-Rossi, I've bought the book and a T shirt and he has personally raised the public consciousness of the sport to a level not seen since Barry Sheen. He's won 9 W.C.'s (although the first few were pretty easy against riders like Biaggi and Gibbinau)

Perhaps Rossi should be known as the "wroat" (winningest rider of all time) and Stoner the "foat" (fastest of all time)

Total votes: 200

I'd consider Colin Edwards in the TOP 10 of Rossi's peers, and COLIN SAID THE STATEMENT ABOUT THE "GOAT", NOT THE FANS.

Watch "Faster" and "The Doctor, The Tornado, and The Kentucky Kid"...and you'll see that COLIN said it a LONG time ago.

You're welcome. :-)

Total votes: 174

Actually said It in an interview after they won the 8hr together. A journo was pointing out that Rossi had better lap times on the SP that Colin had developed. He said "if he continues like this he might be greatest ever....."

Total votes: 166

The difference being that one is easily measurable and one is purely subjective, sometimes I feel mostly based on his ability through turn 3 in PI and nothing else.

Stoner is definitely FAMSTT3APIOAT.

Total votes: 171

David, you can't win ;)

Fantastic article about a fantastic weekend - even more impressive because David didn't travel to the race! Full of those little details, like the particular problems of the Tech 3 bikes, and the parry and thrust of the moto3 race.

As for all the back and forth above...really?

Just a few weeks ago, David wrote some articles about Rossi that had Casey fans crying foul. How could David be still writing about that clearly washed-up never-was when Casey was showing the way as the GOAT on the Honda?

Today, David is apparently a Casey conspiracist, who dares to characterize a 46/27 battle as a fair fight between peers, when clearly Casey has no place in that company....sheesh!

Love the passion but as was said above, a bit too much like an American election for me. Praise for both doesn't mean less for either.

Two fantastic riders, a fantastic race, and we should be happy we saw it and happy that David took the time to fill it out in even more detail. I know I am!

I would love to banish the term GOAT and replace it with GOTD - Greatest On That Day. Since that's all we every know.

FWIW, racing seems to breed a harsh judgmentalism. If a great tennis player has a bad year, or three, people generally say, oh well, he must be in a slump - maybe a sore elbow; he'll be fine. If a racer has a bad race, he's done. Lost it. And unlike tennis, a racer has to use a racquet that affects his game about 35%, costs about a million dollars and might blow up an any time. And one tiny mistake could end his weekend (or career). Why are we so much less forgiving of racers? Hell, I don't know and I was one! But when i catch myself writing off Spies, I remind myself...hey, maybe it's just a sore elbow.

Cheers, all!

Total votes: 198

After Estoril, I was accused of being both a Rossi acolyte and running a Stoner fan page, both under the same story. Is that balance? I don't know. I try to report what I see. It will never please everyone, it won't even please half the people. So I try to at least please me. That's a tough enough crowd.

Total votes: 200

David, you do not need me to tell you but, in my opinion, you do a great job. You are clearly balanced and you seem to be in love with the sport while having tons of respect for the riders and their teams - all of them. This is why I am a site supporter. I am also happy to read that you are relatively at ease with the less pleasant bits of your job, like having to deal with the stress of your travelling and with the less balanced or mature people that comment your posts. Looking forward to your next piece, much less to its comments ;)

Total votes: 179

David, I was reading the bit above where you say that you've considered to retire. That would be a big loss and anyone can understand why by just looking at you've created here.

With that said, I do consider that sometimes some articles seem more opiniated than (perhaps) it ought to be (to spice things up? I don't get it). But then that's just my own way, right or wrong, of interpreting the articles.

The one thing that I really, really miss is having more articles with deep technical depth, like plenty that you've posted in the past. That's what brought me here in the first place and, I suspect, many other users, by having seen this website pointed out by word of of mouth out there, exactly because of such outstanding articles.
Watching those fantastic articles, plus the ammount of intelligent and knowledged users with well placed comments, felt like an "oasis" for plenty of us that don't have a propper 'well-mannered, unbiased' place in the web to read about and/or share impressions about such things.

Perhaps some got here to participate in the inumerous heated and unfortunate debates of "27 VS 46" but, at least to me, the real value of MotoMatters is the depth of knowledge and insight shared.
While it can be also be interesting, I don't think this place is about the "here's your soapbox - your moment of attention" for biased comments, which sometimes feels like the real motivation behind many comments/users.

Total votes: 178

I take it you haven't been following tennis, if anything the judgmentalism is even more severe at those forums. :)

Total votes: 164

forgetting Spies debut year with Tech 3 on a satellite bike.

Two statements sum up his year ;

It's better to be lucky than good.........

If he didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.....

He will turn it around.

Total votes: 169

David, love your writing. And love how your opinions evolve and change and mutate as everything is always on motion, and so are ideas and perceptions.

But I can't take one more discussion or comments here about who's the goat, about 9 crowns here and 2 crowns there or whatever...

It's in a way unfortunate this most excellent site has become the new matte black and clever comments (i'm not saying mine is, btw) are getting fewer as the mass of visitors is becoming bigger. Just like it's unfortunate MotoGP has become so sickly big that it needs to be run by businessmen and people who don't know much anymore about motorcycle racing to just (not) get to pay the overheads.

Some days, I wish MotoGP would just crumble and become a slighlty glorified international event. Of course it wouldn't be televised (altho i'm pretty certain some smaller company would take over Dorna and assured a stream) nor publicized as it is now but it surely would be healtier, more balanced and deliver more of a show for all. And funnier for the riders too...

Total votes: 162

To the handful of Rossi fans being critical of Davids opinion - get off his back. Is he not entitled to his opinion any more than you? That's like saying 'how dare Casey be critical of Rossis (dangerous) moves at LS.'

The difference is that it's VR being criticised, or having it suggested that maybe he isn't quite as fast as Casey these days. If it was anyone else there would hardly be a peep.

I know I value Davids opinion far more than an anonymous bunch of one eyed fans. And he's not the only journo suggesting that maybe Casey has a bit more raw talent that VR, or anyone else for a long time.

And FFS stop whining about Caseys personality & lack of interest in PR. You want media exposure? How about the Honda/Repsol brands being on camera more than any other brands each race, 'cos he's always in the top 3.

Casey does the vast bulk of the PR he's required to - is he meant to paint a clown face on for every press conference? You can't change who you are, and Casey is just very shy & reserved. I've met locals who knew him as a kid and described him as INCREDIBLY shy, Casey himself when interviewed in Aus has described the interviews etc. as 'murder'. He's actually come a long way.

And try to imagine for a minute a racing world that never had a Rossi ( I know that may send some into shock), you get a different picture, there's never been a personality like him, so this skews perceptions. There would be no Rossi vs Casey/Biaggi/Gibernau rubbish. And try asking yourself - who has created the most animosity with other riders over the last 10 years or so? But you know better than the people he's raced against??

If Doohan or Lawson were racing today, & had the temerity to beat him and criticise him for dangerous moves (which they would), they would cop a similar shit storm to that Casey is getting now.

We all know Casey 'says its as it is' - that's what many find so refreshing. Given this fact, is it any surprise that Casey mentions bad press when making the announcement? In 30 years of watching all sorts of racing, I have never seen a rider so pilloried by press & public, never seen such a level of hatred for a champion. And for what? Has he taken any other riders out in dumb moves, ever brake checked people off the track, ever been in a fist fight post race? I could go on.

Given the above, and all the criticisms by Rossi himself of Stoner over the years, is it any wonder that Caseys fans have a go at VR? And forget trying to convince us that (until now), he hasn't had the best bikes & tyres, not to mention incredibly preferential treatment by Dorna for his many indiscretions (this too I have never seen before).

If it was anyone but VR, these issues wouldn't exist. Try taking your blinkers off, accept Casey is who he is, and don't be so sensitive when anyone dares to say anything about Rossi that isn't glowing praise.

Cheers.

Total votes: 210

There is no blinders on. 2 men have achieved 100 wins in this sport in its' 60+ year history, and only 2. And one of them is still racing. This isn't the same thing I see repeated on this site over and over again "his vitriol of fans" and all that, this is different.

This is in reference to a motorcycle racer who has proved at every turn, he IS the real deal. 100+ wins just don't come by luck, nor having the best bike. He jumped off the Repsol Honda 5 cylinder, to this date, the best bike I've ever seen run a race, handed it, along with a bow around it representing his and Burgess's crew of development work, to his rivals. He hopped on a lesser bike, never with the same HP as the Honda, and won on it from the get go. in 2003, he would interview and looked like he had just come from a vacation, the next year, drenched in sweat having to work his bloody arse off for the exact same thing. And journos wrote articles about this difference, it's not me one eye making it up.

Honda is the NASA of the motorcycle world. They sell more bikes than anyone on the planet, have more money than any other motorcycle mfr on the planet (perhaps twice as much as the next, Yamaha, or more), have the best engineers, you name it. That achievement, has been poked at by the author, and his achievements of his career belittled in articles on this site, which to me is not representative of the truth, nor the work that went on by the rider. Yes he is struggling on this current bike but that does not mean you can try to strip away his achievements.

He is loved by his fans, and fans that have stuck with him, even in failure. (In this world of fair weather fans, this is significant) But make no mistake, much of it, or the majority of it has been earned on the track, not off. Perhaps he is loved more than most because he has thanked everyone he has passed along the way of his storied career. He thanked or acknowledged, publicly, Mike the Bike (Sorry Mike), Sheene, he rode on the back of his own bike when he passed Nieto, choosing to let him ride. His stock went way up in Scotland when Colin McRae died as he had a RIP sign, on the grid, the race after. Even in failure he has smiled and persevered on. I think the guy is crazy, trying to step down in terms of bike, for the 2nd time in his career, at this stage of his career, absolutely crazy. Hypothetical nonsense has been talked up so much on this site over the last year, how about we all have a think if what if Rossi never left Honda. Would we even be having this discussion?

Overnight tires were real, but the reality is all the factory Michelin riders got them. Julian Ryder got Hayden to admit this many years ago while at Honda. Early in his career it was "He's grown up on these tracks" or "if Burgess went to another rider, Valentino wouldn't win" then it was "he's got the best bike the Honda" and he left to show you all, he is the real deal, then it was the tires, never mind that he won the first championship on spec tires, same result as before, or that he won the previous year on Bridgestones that were developed for the Ducati.

The excuses get old and if a 100 race winner hasn't earned enough respect to not doubt him, I don't know who has, nobody, nobody in history then. This has nothing to do with one eye, it has to do with history and respecting those who have conquered history. Do you know when we'll get another 100 race winner, another champion to win 5 titles in a row, 9 titles, 10? I'll probably be dead by then.

If Doohan or Schwantz were racing today, they'd run you off the track. Battles were fierce in those days, hard passes the norm. A stark contrast to today's races and the crying of foul passes and riders who tell other riders not to pass until half race distance.

David's a big boy and can fend for himself. Choosing to start attacking the man's achievements of the past during this last year while failing rubs some the wrong way and it has nothing to do with blind fanaticism. If Casey stays around, and/or Jorge gets 7 premier titles and 100 wins, I'll defend them the same.

I've never seen expectations of another rider to morph into another rider on a bike. All these guys ride different, all of them. In the history of motorcycling riders suit certain bikes while others do not. Rossi's style has always been hard on the brakes and corner entry, the exact traits the Ducati is weakest. Many Stoner fans on this site have pointed the finger at Rossi, and reminded us all, 100 times over of Rossi and Burgess's own quick assessment, which was wrong, and they were. The bike was built and developed around another rider, with another riding style in mind. This isn't 2004. I would dare to say, with all these current rules, engine rules, fuel rules, and ever increasing electronics, Rossi wouldn't have won in 2004 on the M1. The rider can't make that kind of difference today he has to have a competitive motorcycle. Back then a lesser bike, could win, as Rossi proved to everyone, only to have them try and have a go at that this year. Proof would be a man named Elias. He won the last race won by a satellite bike. That was 6 long years ago and the fact that it hasn't happened in that long should tell you something not only about electronics, but these rules in place today.

In the comments section over the last year I've also read that Jorge beat him in 2010 while Jorge himself doesn't even say that.

http://www.gpone.com/index.php/en/201109234940/Lorenzo-I-want-to-beat-Va...

"The races against Valentino, battling for the win on the same bike, were all great; even if I never won any of them. He is super strong on the brakes, and I'd like it if, sometime in the future, we had the chance to race again with equal machinery. Those races were certainly more fun to watch than the ones from this season, where one rider always seems to break away. My fondest memory is of Barcelona 2009."

Over the last year we've read Rossi's achievements belittled, that he got beat straight up in 2010, when the rider who won doesn't even say that, and that since he can't morph into another rider, like a Mortal Kombat character, that he's done, and the like.

There is an old adage in the paddock, to never count Valentino out. Many did, and many got proven wrong today. Ducati sorts out that bike so that Rossi can finally ride the way he has the rest of his career and he'll be right back at the front. He might win he might lose, but he'll be at the front. The fact that he did not want to risk crashing at every single round last year only to still lose the championship doesn't mean he is any less of a rider or has less talent than he did in 2004, or 2008, or 2001. It means that he's not going to risk an injury on a bike that wouldn't win the championship anyway, not even with Casey Stoner aboard it. Contrary to popular belief, Stoner did not win the championship in 2010, Lorenzo did, and that same year, with multiple injuries, and missing multiple rounds, Rossi still finished higher in the championship than Stoner did. The fact that Stoner won a couple of races on it in 2010 doesn't mean that the 2010 and 2011 seasons should be morphed together. They are different seasons, different years, and Honda took a big step up, 5 chassis, a million dollar gearbox, and stealing 2 key programmers from Jorge's garage. Seeing the 2011 bikes, all of them, color me not surprised that Rossi didn't win anything. I was also not surprised at the result today, not at all.

Bag on Rossi all you want, but try to make it factual at least. Hypotheticals are fan wishes and definitely not reality.

Total votes: 211

Nicely put. While I you could never doubt Rossi's incredible career, I however think it is the judgmental comments made by Rossi and his team that have come back to bite him more than his current performance on the Ducati.
In particular, the comment by Burgess about Stoner not having a Plan B when beaten at LS still rings loud.
Maybe a bulk purchase of silver iodide by Ducati is in order.

Total votes: 170

Why is it so difficult for MotoGP fans to accept that there are two riders in the grid today that have achieved spectacular things in the sport that are absolutely, completely different and DE's columns reflect this?

In one corner we have Rider A whose run at the top is unparallelled in history, who has won more consistently over a longer period than any rider in the modern era, and its not even close. He has won from pole and pit road, has shown a wonderful flair for racing that has drawn fans to the sport from all over the world, entertained millions and there have probably been less than 10 races in all those years where he has come out second best when the racing gets tight. Realistically no-one will come close to matching his achievements and when you pile up trophies that high there is absolutely no way any luck is involved in those many, many wins.

I the other corner we have Rider B who might well be the fastest guy on a bike in the last 35 years. He was never going to be capable of the kind of sustained career that Rider A has put together but has outperformed every other rider in the sport during his time in MotoGP. He did that for the most part on a bike that every other rider who tried it considered substandard or worse, including Rider A. Rider B doesn't have the commitment or health to rewrite the record books but there is no doubt - and it is acknowledged by the rest of the MotoGP grid - that when he is on he does things on a bike that the rest can't duplicate.

It's tedious reading comments from both sides that don't seem to appreciate just how damn lucky we are to have both these riders to watch and deride David Emmett's quality writing because he has the temerity to give one or the other a paragraph more in this week's article. Step back from the keyboard, put in a tape of Catalunya 2007 and 2009 and stop asking if apples are better than oranges when they're both so damn good.

Total votes: 185

"If Doohan or Lawson were racing today, & had the temerity to beat him and criticise him for dangerous moves (which they would)"

I have to admit that this made me chuckle. :)

Total votes: 183

All you have to say about Zarco's race, a rookie in the class, going from 2-stroke 125 to 4-stroke 600, is that he made "a boneheaded move"???
I'm disappointed...

Total votes: 180

Zarco's move WAS boneheaded. Is David supposed to ignore borderline irresponsible racing, simply because the rider is a particular nationality and all nationalities must be equally supported and name-checked? The roll-call of riders whose ambition outweighs their talent at their home Grand Prix is long and growing, and Zarco added his name to it on Sunday.

Total votes: 197

That he made a boneheaded move is your opinion, which is not shared by everybody, nor by race direction. That being said, even if it was a boneheaded move, there was surely a little more to say about Zarco's race, no?

Total votes: 190

Race direction haven't commented on whether it was a boneheaded move or not, but their lack of action indicates it wasn't regarded as illegal or dangerous. I was merely indicating that my opinion concurred with David's with regards to Zarco's move on Rea. And I agree, there was more to say about Zarco's race; I was very impressed with his impression of a surfer later in the race when he used his bike as a board.

Total votes: 173

I'm growing tired of this Rossi vs Stoner comparison

Nobody will ever beat Rossis 9 times champs for a very very long time, if not forever, unless Marquez steps up and proves himself to be the bext 'it' rider.

Like it or not, the terms 'luck' is much needed to win the champs in every game, match, race, etc. If you don't believe this, ask Pedrosa. But to put all Rossis past achievements based on luck is ridiculous.

I think David here is referring to how a rider should ride a bike, after all that's what they're got payed millions of $$$ for. Rossi is a great and skillfull rider, but Stoners talent is a step or two above. The ability to ride ANY bike (not just the smooth one or the easy one but also the pig one) is what defines talent, combine it with skills, guts, luck, you won champs. Stoner certainly lacks the guts.

As for Honda as the best bike, are you sure? Yamaha have no chatter, and Lorenzo finished Le Mans with his tyre still intact & record the fastest lap, while Duc & Hondas' are shattered.

As long as motogp still running and breathing there's no goat. So many young talents queuing to show what they got, and 1 of them probably better than the others. But what is goat, how do you measure it?

Rossis fanbois' will argue its his 9 times champs that describe goat, while the Stoners will insists its talent related. Everyones entitled to an opinion, but with all due respect, no need to call names, ill-wishing someone, or going totally OOT by bringing on the personality thingy.

When you count the goat based on 'how many/how much', which is most likely what people do, then we all must agree that racing is just a matter of numbers.
Cheers

Total votes: 169

Vandgal,

Was that a typo, or sarcasm? If not please explain.....

Otherwise I largely agree with you. I'd be happy if I never heard the acronym 'GOAT' again - never liked it, even when I was a Rossi fan. It's impossible to prove.

And sick of the VR vs CS rubbish as well. Too many infantile minds (on other sites in the main) taking over the discussion.

Total votes: 171

Hi Cosmo,

Its not a typo nor sarcasm, its a fact.

You see, IMHO Stoner doesn't like confrontation on or off the track. He's a straight rider & always carefully considers his every move on the bike, be it overtaking, run away fast, ride around chatter or armpump :D
When overtaking opponent he does it fair & square, no fairings bashing, less risky to both parties involved. That's his lacks of guts and that's why they call him boring. And later it propagates to his personality, which is so irrelevant!
Moreover, his 'no confrontation' attitude resulting on him looked like he was beaten by Rossi, whereas his sole purpose is just to stay away from collision. I bet my arse, he couldve just given it to Rossi if he wanted to, but didn't.
On the other side, Rossi is a very gutsy rider, again IMHO. His aggresive, ballsy moves often borderline if not dangerous. But hey, isn't it what people want? A bit of entertainment in the middle of the race performed by the legendary 9 times champs doctor and his victims Biaggi, Gibernau, and Stoner sometimes :)

I bet this 'boring' statement 99% came from Rossis fanbois, who miss the mouse & cat act of the past times.

You were a Rossi fan? Whose fan are you now? I'm a Stoner fan, mind you. Shame he's retiring soon.

Total votes: 170

I remember a lot of ballsy moves by Stoner last & this year. Laguna '11 for example, even Rossi said you need the biggest balls to make a move like that on Lorenzo.
But even more: Stoner had the guts to ride the Duc to a limit where even Rossi doesn't dare to tread.
In the days of Schwantz people loved a win it or bin it mentality. I guess the times they are a changin'...

Total votes: 174

Lo,

Exactly, not to mention 2 wheel drifting at around 250km - who else does that so easily?

vandgal, your comments are frankly ridiculous. All the guys out there have guts, they wouldn't be there otherwise. You seriously want these guys to bash fairings all the time?? FFS they're a pubic hair from death just riding the things flat out.

If you want stupid move & accidents go watch Nascar.

So clearing off 'cos you're the fastest is gutless? Go tell that to Mick Doohan.

And I've been watching GP's since the early eighties, and while there was plenty of close racing, a bit of fairing bashing etc., there was little of the likes of brake checking people off the track, or making simply stupid overambitious moves & taking people out. Didn't Marcos overambitious moves, & subsequent tragic death teach you anything about a) the consequences of a 'fairing bashing' riding style, and b) how close they are to mortalty every time they race?

And I was a Rossi fan until he started cheating (scooter laying rubber on the grid), taking people out (eg. Sete), and getting away with it. Then Casey joined the big time, and being an Aussie I naturally supported him. Honestly but, regardless of where he came from he'd be my favorite, he's the most talented I've seen. And I like his laconic style. Totally agree he'll be a great loss to the sport, but his decision has only earnt him more of my respect.

Total votes: 163

Are you watching the same series as the rest of the world or are you drifting in some parallel universe? I think you'll find the main reason Casey didn't "give it to Rossi" was because Casey has a championship to consider... better to take 16 points then none. After all Vale is unlikely to podium again if it's dry so he had more to gain/lose by pushing for 2nd.

Total votes: 186

Lo,
Yes I remember that, too, 1 hell of a move, or when he denied Spies at Valencia. The change was for the good, I guess. There's no advantage in win it or bin it, especially if you crashed out or get injured.

Cosmo mate, chill
Of course all the riders out there have tonnes of guts (something I could only imagine I'd have *sigh*), and I didn't say Stoners gutless, it lack of guts.
And no, I don't want any fairings-bashing race, I'm content with this smooth kinda race, watching Stoner bent that Honda to submission, as David said :)
I was merely pointing out a lot of people want that kinda race, where you see loads of aggressive moves. Probs that's why they love Sic so much (bless him).

MaxPower,
I definitely watch the same series mate and I'm fully aware Caseys main reason of not 'give it to Rossi'. Its just deep down of my bottomest heart I wish he would win, thus no twitter meltdown. But Rossi won the battle, up popped the abusive remarks and tweets from the yellow blinkered people.

Total votes: 155

I'm a little puzzled by just how much it's become Rossi vs Stoner since Rossi joined Ducati. It's understandable that it's emphasised the comparison between them but I think it's a little too much, as if the last few years were being re-written to make them about Rossi and Stoner plus support acts, when Lorenzo has been just as much a part of the rivalry at the front, with Pedrosa not far off.

Total votes: 155

I think as fans of MotoGP people who side themselves with one rider or another just have to accept there is a myriad of differing opinion out there. There will of course be people who believe things that you disagree with and really you just have to suck it up.

I don't find the articles on this site to be biased at all, in general I think David takes the evidence as it is, be that race performance or reported comments of riders and other people involved in MotoGP, and make a critical analysis of the riders and their situation. It doesn't matter if you are a 9 times world champion or the fastest guy at present you should not be exempt from a critical analysis of your performance or career.

The never ending one-up-manship that goes on between 'Rossi fans' and 'Stoner fans' is truly ridiculous and detracts from objective journalism and sensible comments by other fans and journalists.

I actually now choose to never make any comment about Stoner or Rossi on these forums now as it just never ends.....

Before someone accuses me of being in one camp or another... I would cheer for Rossi over Stoner in a race.... but that doesn't mean I dismiss Stoner's talent.

Total votes: 154

All these comparisons suck, thats for sure.
Btw...the greatest rider of all times is still with us!
Its Giacomo Agostini and his 10 Isle of Man TT-wins are probably a nightmare to Valentino, because even he does not have the guts to go racing there:)
Nobody will ever take that away from Ago and with only 3 more years to go there is not even the theoretical possibillity to achieve Ago´s 15 titles by Valentino:) So Vale is "only" a "mere" runner up on beeing the greatest:)

But whatever...The race:I was just glad to see the old dog teaching the young gun another trick and it sure makes an aging former racer happy to see such thing.Thats about it and if there is something obvious it is the fact that you can´t compare Vale and Casey. Also there is no such a device as to measure talent and even motorcycles are not giving you a clear reading on that because they change to much over the years, thats for sure.

Total votes: 158

Sorry Steve, much as I like seeing your posts I have a diametrically opposed view on the Isle of Man >>

VR .... "even he does not have the guts to go racing there."

Whether or not VR had the chance to race in the TT, perhaps he is rational and smart enough NOT to race at the Isle of Man.

I was happy to be a small time supporter of John Britten, but made it clear I would not suppport ANYBODY to race in the TT: risk is too high.

Total votes: 158

...Yamaha will start to lose patience at some point.

Personally I think it's past that and the decision has already been made -- Spies will not be back on a factory Yamaha next season. Both Crutchlow and Dovizioso appear to be better alternatives, to name just two. At this point I just don't see the potential for a turnaround there.

The real question now is whether he will stay in MotoGP.

Total votes: 170

I know you are UK based but some credit please "Bradley Smith showed a similar amount of commitment and passion, firing up through the field to dice at the front, after starting from a lowly 19th spot." What about Westy from 28th to 7th now the QMMF team is the only one persisting with the Moriawki chassis and with a new one this weekend it was an absolute stunner of a result, I know Westy is the rainmaster but still deserves some kudos. And yes I am an Aussie and a great Westy fan

Total votes: 155

The reason I didn't give West and Zarco the coverage they deserve is because time is finite. I have to make choices about who to talk about, and that means I inevitably disgracefully disregard 99% of the paddock. And frankly, we are so used to seeing West up front when it rains that 7th - despite the amazing run though the field - feels almost like a disappointing result, no matter how injust that judgment might be.

Total votes: 167

You spent time writing a whole paragraph on Rea and Simon and yet Zarco would not even have been mentioned if it was not for the paragraph on Rea when the race winner Lüthi specifically mentioned Zarco in his post race interview saying that he was ready to let him win if he had passed him and kept the pace he had while closing in on him.
A Frenchman had won his moto3 home race just before, Zarco, a rookie in the class was starting 8th on the grid of his home race, got shuffled back to 18th because of Corsi's fall in the first turn and managed to actually get to 2nd and apply pressure on Lüthi and looked as if he could win, to the wild roar of 80.000 people lap after lap and you only mention him because an Englishman got off the racing line and clipped the rear of the much faster Zarco at the time? Sorry but I think you left off a pretty big part of the moto2 race.

Regarding Simon, it was an admirable scene, but there is a strong suspicion that, aside from heroically collection 2 points, he also left some oil on the track, causing the misfortunes of various motoGP riders starting from that side of the track (De Puniet, Hayden, Spies...).

I don't want to sound harsh on you, especially since there seems to be a lot of people giving you a hard time about Rossi and Stoner, in my opinion without justification, but you're among the best writers out there, if not the best with Kenny Noyes, so you have to be held to the highest standards! ;-)

Keep up the great work David!

Total votes: 161

Dear bricktop, please elucidate: Which rider do you refer to in your statement - "The bike was built and developed around another rider, with another riding style in mind."

Are you talking about the current MotoGP Ducati or one of the several of last year's ones? The rider all THOSE bikes were developed and built around was a version of Valentino Rossi, the bloke who whinges about how bad it is at every opportunity.

Never in the history of motorcycle grand prix racing has so much been spent on one rider to achieve so little.

But if you meant the Ducati that USED to win races? Well, that is another story altogether.

It was built by Ducati doing what they thought was best, and that silly young Aussie had the gall to just get on it and ride it - while being paid a pittance in comparison to the blokes he was beating. Silly fool.

But then you saw all that didn't you bricktop, because you are not blind.

Total votes: 182

Baron:

'Never in the history of motorcycle grand prix racing has so much been spent on one rider to achieve so little.'

Was thinking similar quotes lately, gold.

Total votes: 157

I must say that reading everything here on MM has turned me around a fair bit, since #27 announced retirement.

I'm Australian, a Stoner fan, have been to many Phillip Island race weekends, am awestruck by his talent on a machine, but....I think it was wrong of him to take a dump on the racing world on the way out. There's a lot to say, for the power of what's left unsaid. Biaggi, after the punchup with Rossi on route to the podium, despite what must have been sheer fury in his mind, was wise enough to keep his mouth shut about it. A journalist asked him 'what is that above your eye' (referring to a cut/bruise) and Biaggi said 'I don't know... maybe some mosquito' which was probably Biaggi's greatest moment, in my mind :)

But for sure, Casey leaves nothing unsaid, win or lose. And that isn't always good thing. I think it's a great shame that he never had a decent PR man, a decent sports psychologist, someone who understood/could connect with him, someone to help him mature into a public figure, someone who could rise above everything done and said and maintain his passion for racing without all the hand wringing he went through.

Maybe Stoner's greatest sin, is that his skin was never as thick as his leathers.

Total votes: 166

Pooch,

Maybe your last sentence is right, but who else has copped the hiding that he has in recent years?

Re: his 'PR man' see the interview with his PR man, Rhys Edwards on this site on May 16th. There's only so much these people can do, you can't 'modify' a personalty if the personality is comfortable with what he's got.

Total votes: 148

BrickTop, mccarthd26 and other Rossi fans, it keeps amazing me how quickly you guys are offended by any statement that points out another rider as being equally or heaven forbid - more talented than Rossi. NOBODY says these 9 WC’s count for nothing, nobody says Rossi did not earn all these wins, nobody says he isn’t one of the best riders of all time. Why do you like to read that so bad? I don’t understand.

Total votes: 170

David another excellent article which is well written and shows good journalism. I look forward to your opinions and insight as much as the racing!

And to all those laying into David thats what journalism is and always will be, written by an individual who like all of us has an opinion, and as we are all know entirely subjective depending on your point of view.

There are other sites such as the dreaded Crash where you can have a slinging match.

Or how about this? If you disagree so much about what David writes and his insights. The facts and the info no other site or mags get due to the access he gets from those who trust him and Scott in the paddock to bring us all the gems over the years (I for one have not read anywhere else that Dovi had bought his own brakes!). Go and start your own Motogp site. I thought there were only armchair racers, not journos as well.

Keep it up David and there are more of us that enjoy your writings and thoughts than idiots who feel the need to spout rubbish on your site.

Total votes: 178

This website seems to become too much important ... now everyone "judges" the articles, everyone takes all of that too seriously...

Honnestly, I enjoyed the show, I enjoyed the fairplay between Stoner and Rossi, I don't give a f.... who he's the best, I think they had both their untouchable/GOAT/GOD moments ...

I enjoyed the article, at least there is some opinion... it's only a sport guys, only a sport...

Cheers

Total votes: 173

I don't understand some of you guys! A man decides to retire and he's getting CRUCIFIED for it! I pay for my own track bike/gas/motels/etc/etc/etc (in fact, the gixxer is in the back of my truck as I type), but what's that got to do w/Casey retiring? Sure I'd love to ride a GP bike (ahh, maybe I should say have the TALENT to ride a GP bike), but you, I, or anyone else knows what Casey has gone through, feels in his heart/soul about LIFE/racing/etc and the tolls it has taken on his life.
So, he's decided to retire. I'm sad that Casey is hanging it up....I've never seen ANYONE ride a m/c like him and I've been following the sport (road racing) since the late 60's. I'm going to miss his stunning style on the bike, and as far as I'm concerned, that is ALL I expect him to do. Dazzle me his stunning talent and speed on a GP bike.

As far as GOAT status: IMHO...Casey is the fastest man that's ever thrown a leg over a GP bike! but that does not make him the GOAT! GOAT status comes with TIME and proving yourself over years and years and years in racing. Due to the simple time frame, Casey will never be considered the GOAT (IMHO), but Rossi, arguably is simply due to his greatest over a period of time on several different bikes.

Total votes: 185

I have nothing but respect for Casey as a rider and if his wanting to retire to be with his family is commendable. I'd rather go to the beach with my son than go to work.
What I do have a huge problem with, and please be clear about this, if it was Rossi acting like his job was one big pain in his ass I'd feel the same way about him, is Casey making sure everyone of us fans know this sport in its present state is crap and not worth his time. As if Dorna has somehow screwed him out or real racing. Or that the huge PR demands of a company that pays out millions of dollars are to demanding.
This is my opinion. And my "don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out" comment has nothing to do with Casey's talent which is beyond question. It's like being at a party with a group of friends and there's one dumbass who keeps bitching that the party sucks. Then go home because there are a shit load of us that think this party is amazing. I'd love to see Casey stay

Total votes: 176

... Stoner maybe bitching about the party, but it is because someone keeps bumping his request for some Pearl Jam to play "I Will Survive" for the fifteenth time. Someone is having fun but it ain't him. Shame he left, understandable as well.

Total votes: 162

The party analogy is not really true, because one can also view that Stoner came along for his friends (racing) but is not all that into the party (drama) in the first place.

Total votes: 148

Or maybe Stoner prefers to hang in the kitchen at parties, but his friends make him go onto the dancefloor because he's got the moves?

Shame to see him hanging up his dancing shoes : )

Total votes: 163

This race and article have given me more entertainment in one day than I have had for the whole Motogp year. :D. Some of you guys have got to relax.

Lorenzo was spot on yesterday and did his thing in a way that has got to give him some more confidence going into the next round. Would love to see him be able to take a good pace to Stoner every race. That way we do not have to watch Stoner disappear with no one to challenge him.

That second place was were it was at. Rossi passing both Tech 3 bikes then catching up to Stoner was exciting. Stoner not just letting him go but passing him back just shows that Stoner, as he was in many battles with Rossi, is not a punk rider. He may not like fairing bashing, he may speak on things he feels are unfair, sometimes right, sometimes wrong. But he will not just give in. Then there is Rossi. Even though this was not a win, but at least I felt like I was watching ROSSI, instead one of the many men that Ducati has broken. In typical Rossi fashion he waited until the end and started ramping up his pace.

Race had some casualties, and some disappointing results, but I have to talk about Ben Spies. Watching Ben Spies is like being an Oakland Raider fan. On paper it should be a championship team. But when you go to the game, you damn near have a heart attack because they keep losing.

I am a Ben Spies fan. He has proven his talent more than anyone else in the current generation that came up through Superbikes. And therein lies the problem. He HAS proven his talent. Every weekend there is an excuse. I still believe in him, but the people paying his salary, (Lin Jarvis in particular), seem thoroughly unimpressed, and look somewhat disgusted. He is behind Ducatis?!? Something is up. Something has happened to Ben and I do not know what it is. Something has happened to his head, mentality, drive. Like Tiger Woods, we all know he was the best golfer at one point, but look at him now. But at least I know what happened to him, (lost that wife of his).

But with Ben is a mystery I hope some can find out about what is going with Ben. Unfortunately for him, if he does not get some WINS, I think he may not be able to get a ride next year, let alone one with a factory. In fact, I could put money on this, if he does not get top 4s soon, someone from Tech 3 may be moved into his position mid year. Contract violation or not. Mark my words.

Total votes: 161

Whorido,

Bens form is indeed inexplicable, like Rossi we know he's got the talent. Unlike Rossi he's on the possibly the best package in the Yamaha.

One point I haven't seen made - how ordinary are his crew? How much of his bad luck has been down to mechanical issues? Leaving that widget stuck on the bike, when it should have been removed on the grid for example, that's just rank amateurism. There seem to be other similar issues - not detecting a broken frame?

Total votes: 167

Guys that actually pushed and showed that they weren't scared of the conditions, like Zarco, Vinales, Olivera, Dovi, etc. deserved more than the riders who just drove slowly and collected their points - Cortese, Pedrosa, etc.

Total votes: 165

Cortese crashed, that's how hard he was pushing. But you seem to be suggesting that it is better to crash out of a race than to finish. Not being scared of the conditions sounds a bit like climbing into the polar bear enclosure at the zoo and shouting "come on then, show me what you've got!"

Total votes: 170

I know that it's better for the riders to finish the race than crash, I'm just sympathetic for the guys who tried to be bold and fell.

Total votes: 164

Finally, a comment worth reading. Maybe the polar bear is the goat? Why all this discussion of farm animals?

First thing I was taught as a racer was that to finish first, first you must finish. I can think of a couple of instances over the years when I as team owner would have wanted my rider to bin it rather than finish second, but they're all situations when a rider/team that had zero wins ever was in a position to take their maiden win. Actually, now that I think about it, it was one time only - Dovi and Edwards at Donington.

Love the site, David. I'll say that in going through the comments, I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that when I was teaching blogging and web site concepts on Thursday night, I warned my students that if you let readers post comments, it's a full-time job to keep the comment section from destroying the site.

Total votes: 157

Both of them are fun to watch, yesterday was the example. Can't we just love them both??

Some people just got too easily bothered or maybe having their period time this week ha ha..

@David

I hope you're joking about retiring.

Total votes: 151

Deadly serious.

Total votes: 157

...forty-something "too young to retire"?

;-)

Total votes: 154

I have been worried for a awhile that you will get an offer from another publication or something unrelated to journalism because of your success here at MM. It's kind of how this stuff goes. Really really hope I'm wrong.

Total votes: 166

You get people addicted to this motomatters.com, then you want to retire.......tell the truth.....it's CS, he went up to you and personally convinced you. ;)

Total votes: 158

David,

To me, and many others, it will be a massive blow to the sport losing both yourself and Casey in the same year. If true, the sport will be very diminished next year.

Like Casey however I can understand and respect your decision (if made).

And its ironic that both retirements will be partly for the same reason. David you've been getting just a small taste of what Caseys put up with for years, I'm sure you understand this well.

Casey haters take note, the same sort of attitude you showed to Casey, and now David, may mean the end of this great site. Well done...

Total votes: 152

I am deadly serious too. Unless you retire to write a book.

Total votes: 143

We have a very enjoyable race, with Rossi riding as of old and plenty of close passing/repassing manouevers, riders pushing to just over the limit to stay in the hunt, tyre wear adding a wildcard element to the results - everything that most racing fans have been asking for for ages. One might not unreasonably expect a mild explosion of joy from the fans for the spectacle, for the see-sawing lead in the championship, pride and excitement for the good results of one's favourite rider/s, a bit of respect / commiseration for those not so successful for whatever reason. For a race weekend with so many, many stories that unfolded, a race summary is simply not going to cover it all without going into a second edition..

I arrive here at the comments on the summary to find the site subject to a mini-tsunami of often shrieking, sometimes incredibly puerile comments worthy of a crowd of pre-teenager girls on the appearance of their Boy-Band crushes at an airport. A considerable amount of that commentary is directed against David, for not, as it would seem, exhibiting a sufficient amount of attention / gushing hyper-admiration / genuflection towards the commentator's particular favourite. In many cases that is attributed to - if the comment were stupidly to be taken as worthwhile - a persistent bias in favour of someone who is not the commentator's favourite rider.

In just the past couple of months, David has been simultaneously charged with being - from one camp - 'the chief Rossi fawnicator in the business', while from another, 'utterly biased towards Stoner'.

mtm has gained the reputation of being a site where the quality of journalism is right at the top of motoGp reporting. Most importantly, it has gained the trust of the paddock to the point where David has terrific access to the most important figures in the business. For any independant, self-funded site that does not have the media clout of large-circulation media sources, that is remarkable.

It is entirely obvious that for a certain section of motoGp 'fans', the expression of their own hyper-biased opinion is far more important than respecting the integrity of the site and the benefit of the insights into motoGp racing that that integrity affords them. That attitude is selfishness of the highest order, and in any company of motorcyclists as I know them would earn a smack in the mouth at a minimum - from all sides.

Those who would poison the very well from which they drink so that others may not enjoy the water deserve nothing but contempt. It is commercially necessary for the site to generate revenue from hits in order to provide David with the meagre resources he has to attend races and get the stuff we come to the site to read - there is no corporate cash stream supporting him. However, and as we can see from the commentary on this report alone, that is a double-edged sword, because without the reputation for fairness and accuracy of his reporting and a respect for the readership, the paddock will not bother to provide the access that David has managed to gain through his efforts to date.

Equally, for David to have to spend in an increasing amount of his time editing comments so as to preserve the integrity of the site over being able to spend time on research and writing, will kill the goose. To those who demand that the site reflect their view of the motoGp world at the expense of his journalistic integrity, I say: bugger off. And this time, I do not include any plea for due consideration or amelioration of your position, since it is damn obvious that you do not have the breadth of personal spirit to consider the quiet enjoyment of what the site offers to the rest of us. Just - bugger off.

Total votes: 183

^+1 Oscar, perhaps the solution to rid this fantastic site of the troglodytes is to have zero comments on the main page, leaving these cretins to the tender embraces of the moderators on the forum pages

Total votes: 138

No comments on the main page is a darned good idea raffles, if that's what it takes to get these trogs to push off!

Total votes: 134

Very well put Oscar.

It looks like quite a few readers are starting to have a difficult time following the comments on MM. It is a pity as some of them are really worth the reading.

A ban for a good length of time - 1, 6, 12 months - for anyone that posted a comment that needed to be edited off? A bit draconian but it should be reasonably easy to implement in the underline CMS and it might promote a more balanced attitude.

What is your take on this David? Do you think fanboyism is a necessary evil to keep MM an open and fair place? Do you think only insulting comments should be edited off or are you considering more restrictive policies?

Total votes: 106

Are people seriously bitching about David Emmett? If you don't like what he had to say in the article then don't read it and get over yourself. IF he takes the time to even read your comments about himself then I prefer he just delete them and let you piss and moan about it. WAIT! WAIT! I forgot that you said how much you enjoyed his articles and site and thanked him, so that makes it all better and he should probably do what you say and ignore your insolence. Did I mention get over yourself?

I would like to thank David for this site and all his hard work. I am not trying to suck up to him or make him feel better or whev. I just think he deserves it. Period.

As for the Stoner/Rossi/GOAT thing. Stoner is amazingly talented. No one can take that away from him. He is a terrible PR person and regardless of whether people think that he needs to be, he does. It is part of the gig whether he likes it or not. The fact that he is so terrible at PR (and please people, get over the "he tells it like it is" statement) is just a testament to how talented a rider he is. Look at Hayden, less talented and yet keeps a factory ride because of his demographic and the fact that people love to root for him. Don't get me wrong, he is incredibly talented, I have watched him race since the beginning and rooted for him the whole time. But he gets it, talking to the fans and smiling and having a good time is all part of it now. Rossi knows this and loves it (or fakes it well enough). Enough said.

As far as Rossi being on the right bike blah blah blah blah. I didn't realize that no one else was riding on Rossi's teams those years......on the same bikes......I guess I missed that due to my blinders that only allow me to see bright yellow. Sorry, my fault. I will go back and rewatch the races and report back.

I am a racing fan. I was never a fan of Stoner's interviews, so I fast forwarded through it because I'll be damned if watching him ride didn't give me shivers. Rossi riding does the same thing, but his interviews are fun to watch at times. I'm sure that I will now be labelled a Rossi slappy fanboy, but in actual fact I have always rooted for Colin Edwards. Whodda thought?

Total votes: 137

Some of you blokes need to calm down and learn to disagree eloquently. It's fine you do. But - it's NOT fine that you pick apart the original article, impose your own prejudices on what you read, and then essentially flame the author.

I fear we may have just lost this site - if we haven't already lost it's quality of readership.

I honestly don't know how Mr. Emmet can recover the site reputation from here, but I hope he's a more resourceful man than I.

Total votes: 137

David, Don't retire!!....your's is the only voice of "balance" in the whole world of MotoGP journalism (and this is coming from someone you've 'edited' and 'deleted' when I've ...um.. over "ventilated")

You'll always get comments from the 'Rossi' 'Stoner' 'WSB' extremist's......which is fine as long as they use logic to support their views.

Even if fans of a rider or a race series or anything you happen to be commenting about don't agree with something you've written, to get a well argued logical reply, they've really had to think about the subject.

I think I speak for the majority of readers on this site when I say that apart from a few lines of each article that generate debate, the essay's as a whole are superb.

Total votes: 123

Look back in time and you will find it is all in self defence. The Rossi fans, and a large part of the media, were intent on claiming Stoner's 2007 championship as purely a result of this mythical top speed advantage of the Ducati. It doesn't matter that if you look at the statistics for most races, Stoner did not have the fastest top speed. Or the fact that almost 50% of the passes done by Stoner over Rossie were not on a straight. Or that achieving top speed down the straight is a skill, something that Stoner ahieved several times on the sattelite Honda in 2006. From that point onwards the Rossi fans had declared war on Stoner and his fans. Every failure was thrust forward as proof he was not as good as Rossi. The illegal pass Rossi made at Leguna Seca is a classic example. Stoner crashed when trying to catch up. Somehow that was a sin but happily staying in second place would also have resulted in derision. Daring to question the safety of such a move in the cork screw instantly turned him into a whinger. It is the contant and ignorant belittling of Stoner's skill and expertise that forces some Stoner fans to return the favor and hence we have the GOAT arguments. As a fan of racing I admire all competitors for having the skill and courage to race these rockets. What has been apparent over the years is the bias in the mainstream press towards Stoner. The only interview Stoner has done since his retirement plan was made public was with Daryl Beattie. Stoner basically indicated that during his illness in 2009 he realised that MotoGP is no longer a sport but a business. In other words there was no real concern about his health, just how it may affect the bottom line for Ducati. To see how he looked like death warmed up when he staggered off the motorcycle and then have people question if he was really ill just shows how the press was deliberately biased and allowed to be so. None of the doubters dared show a photograph of what he looked like when staggering off the bike or mention him vomiting several times. After diagnosis none of them said that the symptoms of lactose intolerance matched exactly those displayed by Stoner. It was still a "mystery illness" and the inference was that Stoner was telling a porkie. Stoner jumped onto the Honda at the end of 2010 and within 64 laps had thrashed the fastest lap time ever by the same bike in the hands of the works riders. That was a 100% concrete indication that the increased speed of the Honda was caused by the rider, not some mystical super clutch that , according to Jeremy Burgess, would only provide a few tenths if any advantage and only on certain tracks. Yet his outright speed and skill was belittled by Rossi supporters and a large part of the press as being soley attributable to the clutch. A clutch design that Yamaha had rejected as being of little advantage and that Ducati had from mid season. So we get to 2012 and Stoner has arm pump in the first race. Lorenzo and Danni did not lap any faster to beat him. Stoner went slower and there were no problems with the rear tyre. But his explanation is met with derision but no alernate explanation of why he went slower was provided. The bias was evident once again. No wonder he had decided there are other things he would rather do on a weekend than risk his life so Honda can sell some more bikes, Repsol more oil and to provide his detractors with more ammunition to question his skill and honesty.

Total votes: 139

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