Mugello Subscriber Notes: To Race Or Not To Race, And Quartararo, Rins, And Marquez

It is hard to sit down after a MotoGP weekend to write about the racing after a young rider has lost their lives. I have had to do it four times now, and it doesn't get any easier. It merely raises the uncomfortable questions we all know surround motorcycle racing: how do you enjoy a sport which is fundamentally dangerous? A sport in which a mistake risks not just injury, but death?

I have no ready answer to this question. It remains as uncomfortable now as it did the first time I had to address it, after Shoya Tomizawa's tragic accident at Misano in 2010. I feel just as ambiguous about it now as I did eleven years ago. It remains as clear as mud.

If anything, the manner of Jason Dupasquier's passing made the situation even more complicated. The Swiss rider fell right at the end of the Q2 session for Moto3, and was struck by following riders. The minimum combined weight for rider and bike for Moto3 is 152kg. The physics of speed differential and minimum weight meant Dupasquier sustained massive injuries in the incident.

The FIM medical team stabilized Dupasquier, before evacuating him to the Careggi University Hospital for further treatment. That proved fruitless; in a statement issued on Dupasquier's Instagram page, the family announced that the young Swiss rider was declared brain dead in the early hours of Sunday morning, and that the doctors waited to switch off life support until the family had gathered to say their farewells on Sunday evening.

News

The news that Dupasquier had died was broken to the world shortly after noon on Sunday, just as the Moto2 riders were making their way to the grid. Moto2 started with none of them aware of Dupasquier's death, the riders only being told when they returned to the pits after the race. A minute's silence was held 15 minutes before the start of the MotoGP race, and then the MotoGP race went ahead as scheduled.

Should MotoGP have raced on Sunday at Mugello? For that matter, should Moto2 have raced? There are no easy answers to these questions. On the one hand, it would be good for the riders to have some time to digest the shock of what happened to Dupasquier; on the other, nothing they do will change the fact that Dupasquier has died, the situation remains the same whether they race or not. Would Dupasquier have wanted the show to go on? Would his family? Should his family have been asked?

These are all difficult questions, and the range of opinions was just as wide among the riders as they were among the fans. They went from "we shouldn't be racing", to "it makes no difference", all the way to "it's what Jason would have wanted".

No go

Pecco Bagnaia and Danilo Petrucci were the most fervent opponents of racing. Competing in the race had left Petrucci with a very bad taste in his mouth. "First of all today was a really, really difficult race," the Tech3 KTM rider said. "But not for the sporting side. On the human side I don’t feel really, really clean. I just think that we are racing on the same track that almost 24 hours ago someone like us died. For me it’s not a great thing. We are not in the position to say we can stop for a day, at least. I was always feeling a little bit dirty thinking about a person like you, a rider like me is not any more with us."

Petrucci couldn't help but feel that things might have been different if it had been a MotoGP rider who had died, rather than a Moto3 rider. "We understood the situation was very, very heavy since yesterday. It was clear nobody wants to tell the truth. But we understood the situation. In this case I always think if it happens with a MotoGP rider, if we’d continue doing like this? I mean, it’s a different life because it’s a Moto3 rider or let’s say, he’s more or less important? I don’t think so."

Sunday had been hard, but Saturday had been harder. "Yesterday we had the suit on when we saw these images. The helicopter left track and in three minutes we put the suit and we went out like nobody crash, like nobody knows, nothing happened."

"You see a body on the track, you got the same suit and after 3 minutes the pitlane opens and you pass the point where a rider is dead," Petrucci confessed. "I mean, we talk a lot about safety, about everything, but we passed there after 3 minutes. There was even the flag with red and yellow stripes because maybe there were things they need to use to recover the body. We pass through them like always. It’s difficult to understand when you have the suit on and put the bike and go at 350 km/h thinking that next time (will it be me?) Today was his time. Why cannot it be mine one day? Having just a moment for thinking was better."

No appetite for racing

If Danilo Petrucci had managed to race despite not wanting to, Pecco Bagnaia had not handled the situation nearly as well. He lined up, despite not wanting to race. "After the news I said to my team, to Davide [Tardozzi] that I was preferring to not race today," the factory Ducati rider told us. But he knew he had no option. "This is our work. We have to do it. In conditions like this it’s really difficult I think."

The whole affair had cast Bagnaia back to Barcelona in 2016, when Luis Salom had been killed during practice after crashing and hitting a barrier during Friday practice. Those memories had hit hard, he said. "Already in 2016 when we lose Luis I was in the same situation. Before the race we did 1 minute of silence and I was in the same situation. Today it was very difficult during the minute of silence to not let the tears come down so it was very difficult today."

Standing for the minute's silence, 15 minutes before lining up for the race, had been too much for Bagnaia. He had tried to compartmentalize, to close his mind to the tragedy and just concentrate on racing, but had found it impossible.

"If yesterday was already difficult, today was impossible," Bagnaia said. "I’ve seen the news of Jason during the final part of the Moto3 race, before the start of Moto2. From then I started thinking just about the race. But it was impossible. I was close to being concentrated but then during the 1 minute of silence… Nothing. It was impossible to be concentrated."

He paid the price, crashing out of the lead on the second lap, his concentration lapsing at the Arrabbiatas, a section of the track that was especially tricky thanks to the wind blowing there. But the crash hadn't mattered for Bagnaia. "In any case to finish first or last today, it wouldn’t change anything," Bagnaia said. "It’s been one of the worst days of my life. I didn’t enjoy anything today."

He reiterated that he felt it was wrong to race. "For me, I have asked to not race today. It was not correct for me. If it happened to a MotoGP rider we wouldn’t race. I’m not happy about today, about the decision of someone to let us race after news like this. It doesn’t matter if I crashed. I’m just thinking of him, his family. We have lost a 19-year old rider. This is a very difficult to accept and difficult to accept the decision to let us race today."

The show must (probably) go on

Would the race have been canceled if it had been a MotoGP rider who had died? It's hard to say. There haven't been any comparable situations for a very long time. When Marco Simoncelli died in Sepang in 2011, he was killed at the start of the race, in a crash which brought out a red flag. When Daijiro Kato crashed in Suzuka 2003, the race continued, as Kato hit a barrier and was moved from the track.

Similarly, the two incidents with Moto2 riders were very different. When Luis Salom was killed in Barcelona, all activity was stopped on the same day, and the riders discussed in the medical center how to make the track safe before continuing. Practice resumed the next day, but with a revised layout.

And when Shoya Tomizawa crashed during the Moto2 race at Misano in 2010, and was struck by a following rider – an incident very similar to Dupasquier's crash – the Moto2 race continued as Tomizawa was removed from the gravel and taken to the medical center, then the hospital. And the MotoGP race started as normal, Tomizawa only being pronounced dead at 14:20, halfway through the race, the riders only told as they came into Parc Fermé by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.

Let us race

By contrast to Petrucci and Bagnaia, Jack Miller was adamant that the racing definitely should go ahead. "For me I felt like racing," the factory Ducati rider told us. "Jason was a racer at heart. I’m sure he’d have wanted the race to go on. It’s the one thing we love to do and it’s the one thing we’re good at. We have tragedies. We all know motorcycle racing is dangerous. You try not to believe it, or think about what can happen."

What made it more poignant for Miller was that he saw a lot of himself in Dupasquier. "I see a lot of similarities in myself and Jason. Finding your feet and just starting to get going. I think he had a really bright future ahead of him. It’s a ****ing tragedy."

Not that there was anything that could be done to change the situation. "But we can’t do so much for that. I speak for myself: When I get on the bike I try not to think too much, I just think about what my bike is doing, what I am doing and where I need to go. For sure, after, it hits home."

Miller was also happy there had been a minute of silence. "Also in the lead up, you don’t feel good. I want to celebrate with Remy or whatever but it’s impossible when you read this news five minutes before the start of Moto2. My instant thing was to go directly to [IRTA boss] Mike Trimby first of all when when they were on the grid for Moto2. He said there’ll be a minute of silence. I said perfect. Carlos [Ezpeleta] came to me and asked when we’d like to do the minute of silence. I said as soon as possible. It meant a lot. For the fans, for the team. It was emotional. I had some tears in my eyes sitting there, looking at the bike."

For Miller, the greater sin was the repeated showing of the crash on TV. "I don’t agree with what was happening last night. We had a dinner, we had SKY TV on in the hospitality. And I made everybody unplug all the TVs. At the end of the day I think I saw 10 ****ing replays of the crash. I think this is unacceptable. More than anything. You don’t know the situation, you don’t know what is happening. We were hoping and praying all of last night. And for them to just keep playing this **** shouldn’t happen. That they have access to, that footage shouldn’t be there. But that’s the world we live in at the moment. It’s all about media and getting views. It is what it is."

But for the vast majority of riders, they raced because the past could not be undone. Whether they raced or not, Jason Dupasquier lay dead, after sustaining massive injuries in a crash. Canceling the race would not change that, nor would going ahead as normal.

It makes no difference

"Today was very difficult because after what happened to Jason yesterday the question is why we race," Valentino Rossi reflected. "Everything loses sense. I think anyway it doesn’t have sense to not race because unfortunately, what we do today doesn’t change what happened to Jason yesterday. It was very bad. It was very tough."

Rossi has the most experience of the grid, including experience of death. He was racing when Daijiro Kato died at Suzuka in 2003, when Shoya Tomizawa died at Misano in 2010, when Marco Simoncelli was killed at Sepang in 2011, when Luis Salom died at Barcelona in 2016, when Peter Lenz died in a support race in Indianapolis in 2010. Only Marc Márquez, Pol Espargaro, and Johann Zarco were racing at the events where riders were killed in the previous decade. The rest of the grid have had less exposure to death.

Aleix Espargaro saw things from a similar perspective. "Nothing changes," he said, when asked if he would have liked to have been asked whether he wanted to race or not. "If I say yes or no it would be the same." Like brother Pol, Aleix Espargaro wears his heart on his sleeve. "I was very sad sincerely. There are other riders that are maybe affected less by these things, which is not to say they are not good humans as I feel I am, I'm not saying this. But other ones can forget this better and for me, maybe because I'm a father and have a brother racing here, I don’t know but sincerely for me every time this happens it's very difficult for me."

But when the lights went out, they had no choice but to focus on racing. "Again, I don’t know from where we found the strength to forget and as soon as the red lights go to green your brain goes into race mode and you completely forget for the next 40 minutes," Espargaro said.

Perspective

Franco Morbidelli had some sympathy for those who didn't want to race, but he saw things the same way that Rossi and Espargaro did. "I can understand why some riders don’t want to race," he said. "It's a feeling that every rider has for sure on the grid and it's a feeling you have to fight against when you actually have to race. Because finally not racing doesn't change anything."

The only consolation of racing was to entertain, to show the positive side of the sport after such a brutal reminder of the negative side, Morbidelli said. "At least you can put on some show for the people at home and make them enjoy their Sunday or make their Sunday a little bit more sweet, with showing them the good and the bad parts of our wonderful sport."

The podium men were also in the same camp, but after patiently answering question after question about racing after Dupasquier's death, they eventually grew tired. "First of all, I don't want to answer anymore about Jason because I think everyone said what is our emotion," winner Fabio Quartararo eventually said. "It’s our job. We know the difficult moments that can happen. It happens a few times in a long time, so I think that unfortunately sad to say, but it’s our job. We go at 350 km/h, so it’s not normal. I think it’s like this. I will not answer any more questions about Jason because he will not come back, so that’s it for me."

Why talk?

It is hard not to think about Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, the highest ranked women's tennis player in the world. Osaka withdrew from the French Open after announcing she would not do any press conferences because of the strain they placed on her mental health, and then being fined for being true to her word. By withdrawing, and foregoing the chance to earn €1.4 million by winning the tournament, or €750,000 for making it to the final, Osaka was willing to put her money where her mouth is.

As Jonathan Liew, writing in The Guardian, points out, the role of press conferences is vastly overrated. "All over the world, the free press is already under unprecedented assault from authoritarian governments, tech giants and online disinformation. In many countries journalists are literally being killed for doing their job. Meanwhile in Paris, tennis journalists are facing the prospect of having to construct an article entirely from their own words."

This has made me reconsider my initial reaction when we learned that Honda riders would not be speaking to the media after the race. At the time, it seemed like a cop out, a way of avoiding the media after a dismal race. In reality, there is little any rider could say to change the fact that a young man died in a crash.

The riders climbed off their bikes in a state of emotional turmoil, for the most part, after having gone through intense sadness during the minute of silence, then jumping on their bikes to risk their lives racing, all heading into San Donato trying to occupy the same piece of asphalt. Exactly the kind of situation in which a fall is likely, and in which if a rider falls, they are most at risk of being hit by another rider, and suffering a similar fate to Jason Dupasquier. Their mental health certainly wasn't served by speaking to the press, and I'm not sure our mental health, that of those of us in the media, was served very well either.

Age and culture

A few more thoughts on this. Firstly, there are generational and cultural factors at play. It is undeniably true that society has grown less tolerant of risk and danger in the past few decades. In the 1960s, riders would die in practice and their place on the starting grid would be taken by a funeral wreath, while the riders around them prepared to race. Officials had a nonchalant view of safety, an afterthought for a sport which they saw as fundamentally dangerous.

That has changed over the years. We no longer race at street circuits, and the tracks where we do race are subject to ever higher safety standards, riders having a very direct input into changes that need to be made to at circuits. Grand Prix racing no longer loses a few riders a year, the pace having slowed to one death every few years. So as new generations of riders come into the sport, their attitudes to the dangers changes. Incidents are no longer swept under the rug; riders are vocal about their need to take time to deal with tragedy when it strikes.

As for TV broadcasters showing repeats of a crash, that differs enormously by national and regional culture. Spanish and Italian TV is a lot less squeamish about showing lurid images of death and destruction than Northern European and Anglo-Saxon broadcasters. It is understandable that Jack Miller should be upset that Italian TV is showing endless repeats of Dupasquier's crash. But for Italians who have grown up with this kind of coverage, it is entirely unremarkable.

Priorities

Perhaps the hardest thing of Dupasquier's death is that it is a rude reminder of the real-world consequences of motorcycle racing. As much as we like to pretend that sports really matter – Liverpool manager Bill Shankly's misinterpreted quote about football not being a matter of life and death, but far more important than that is often cited – but in the end, it is just entertainment. The world doesn't change if one rider wins rather than another. Dupasquier's death is reality intruding on the fiction that any of this matters very much.

Whether we like it or not, or agree or not, a race happened on Sunday. After spending over 3000 words on death – a consequence, perhaps, of how large death has loomed in my own life, with my father dying at the beginning of the year – a few thoughts on the MotoGP race at Mugello.

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Source: 
year: 
2021
round_number: 
6

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Comments

Thanks a lot David.

This is helping me get my head around the past weekend. Thank you Mister Emmett.

thank you David, for this thoughtful piece. I think it's very interesting the perspective on the way society will perceive and cope with death in the present as opposed to some decades back.  As I said in a previous post, my total respect to all those boys and men who raced on Sunday with a heavy heart. 

As for press conferences and feeding the media, you're right too.  My total respect to Naomi Osaka. 

As for the race - races- i'm miffed by the nonsense attached to the track limits rule. And I've had enough of hearing rules are rules: how many times rules are blatantly ignored when it comes to certain riders? This was all the more nonsensical when watching in slow motion the "criminal act" : ridiculous! Bezzecchi was rather unconfortable about the situation, that's never a good way to get the podium.

Quartararo seems unbeatable right now and he might as well win in Barcelona, but i'm still putting some money on Mir and keeping high hopes on Bagnaia : to me, the three faces of a new era. 

one quick question about KTM: is the sudden resurgence due to a new chassis? Did I miss something? 

thank you for your hard, insightful work David!

 

Don't know if Krop is going to link Mat Oxley's piece but he has one laying out what KTM improved. I don't want to rob either of them of their clicks but the TL;DR- is that yes, KTM's frame changes have helped

My one reservatoin about KTM's improvement is that I think the Michelin fronts at this race were all symetric, so I'm curious to see if their improvement will hold up once they have to use the asymetric front.

Good article, David. I have no answers either. I hope Jason's family will draw comfort from knowing he was achieving his dreams and doing something for which he had passion. I lost a sister quite young and it helped that she was enjoying life a lot during the preceding couple of years.

Regarding Naomi Osaka, I can imagine it must be truly horrible to have to sit in front of a room full of people who are only too willing to rip you apart either there or in print, if you crack or use the wrong words, especially if you've just been hammered by your opponent(s). Good for her, to say "no more". It might be part of the job, but it doesn't have to be. Elite sports should be as inclusive as grass roots, cater for and shield those for whom the 'star chamber' is too much. (What ironically apt euphemism). Personally, I never watch pressers, rarely even hang around for parc ferme unless it's been a truly remarkable event, as riders are rarely able or willing to speak freely.

ETL.... Damned if you have rules, damned if you don't. One thing I wouldn't do is listen to a single current rider, because I'm pretty sure that, without exception, give 'em the inch they're asking for and they'll be back for more next week.

I can't pull every quote said by the riders regarding track limits. But I seem to recall in the past when it was completely a "judgement call", riders would complain about inconsistent application of the rules. Now that it is 100% objective, they complain about the lack of the human element! So there is no "right" answer, as with everything in racing. I agree that there should be some human element, though. And I am not a fan of an infraction being caused by part of the tire being off the kerb. Either you are still on the track, or you are completely off of it; no half-and-half BS, please.

Exactly...What they have now, some...not all...people asked for it. Careful what you wish for ! The more specific you make the rules, the less open they are to informed interpretation, the worse things get. However, it is nice to see riders taking issue with this when the penalty doesn't directly concern them and even was of a benefit to them. If there's no advantage gained, there's no need for any penalty.

I like the hard and fast rule. For now.

If the reshuffling due to rule infringements is shown to be more than the reshuffling (historically ) due to unchecked track limit violations , then we have a problem.

It occurs to me that lately, I have seen many more  position changes due to commission rulings than "advantage gains".

All the above aside, just stay inside the effing limits and they'll be no bitching.

Day's reporting and commentary left much to be desired.  Repeatedly referring to Depasquier's passing as, "lost his battle" (as if he had died of cancer) was annoying.  Then commentating that continuing to race would have been "what he (Depasquier) wanted" smacked of rationalization drawing on a perspective that had no basis in fact.  It is understandable that reporting such a terrible incedent has to be difficult but broadcasters like Day are professionals.  It is not too much to expect them to apply the proper verbiage and tone to their reporting and commentating.

Have to say, i think Steve and Matt have done a good job since Harris left. I couldn't imagine watching the bikes without Nick's voice...but...fair play to them, i hardly noticed the change. However, I think maybe they have been spoiled a little bit by amazing on track action over recent years and they remain dizzy regardless of what is happening. Guess it's their job in the Borg. They're only human, they can talk a load of crap like the rest of us. Overall they do a pretty good job.

And they no longer spoil the results of the smaller class races for those that watch the Motogp race first. Good job Steve and Matt! It's understandable how unbridled enthusiasm can energive the voice box into blab mode. I do it a lot.

Legend, yes.

But if I never heard the word "crucial" again it would be fine.

Also, Love Simon.

When the boss of ktm tells the pit reporter to stop looking so damn close, said reporter is doing his job...very well indeed.

Ok let me use the Guardian writer's logic and apply it to Osaka.

"In a year where many people lost their jobs, have to do jobs they absolutely hate because they have no other choice. Most people who are forced to work with mental issues because they have no choice, she is dreading the prospect of sitting in front of the press after every match".

Again, I am happy she is staying away to get well but it is part of the job. And I don't know about you but in MotoGP atleast I watch all press conferences and try to understand what was going on. To me, it paints a clearer picture. Maybe tennis interviews are different. But if you are not built for it then you are not fit for the job. 

The opposing argument is that sportspeople have a talent for the sport, and they are not necessarily performing press monkeys.

Should a great talent be excluded because they're not happy with answering inane or spiteful questions? We all know how the press works, they want an emotional or controversial response so that they can make a headline, and some will go to any means to provoke it (David excepted!). That was certainly Casey Stoner's view. There should be room for all approaches and all types of sportspeople.

And I'm not convinced be the "you must because the sponsors are paying" argument. The sports generally will stand on their own. Personally I never watch the MotoGP or any other pressers - they're predictable and boring.

I watch every single press conference in MotoGP. I pay a decent amount of money to Dorna every year to watch those. If a rider crashes, I wanna know what happened. So the fact that you don't really enjoy them, doesn't matter. These are people paid obscene amounts of money to do something completely pointless. It is part of their job. If you can't do it, then step back. And I am happy she did that. What next? you are not allowed to play mind games with your rival because they are too mentally fragile to take it? They should be included because they sporting talent, right? Everybody has part of their jobs that they hate. Somewhere around the world, somebody who is terrified of interviews has given an interview. Someone who has anxiety while speaking to group of people, has given a presentation. Someone who doesn't like the heat, is roofing in the summer. Millions of people were forced to shut down their only business forever that was passed down to them. I know many people personally. And I am supposed to feel bad for a millionaire who has the choice of staying home and not worry about where her next meal is coming from?

Again. I am using the guardian writer's logic here. If he can compare tennis press to the journalists being prosecuted. Then osaka can be compared to the people who have to go through mental issues and never had the choice of staying home. 

I have to admit being a bit lost by the logic of "lots of people have to deal with bad things, therefore everyone should."

 

I don't "feel bad for a millionaire who has the choice of staying home and not worry about where her next meal is coming from" (I assume that's in reference to Naomi Osaka), I admire her for setting a boundary, and sticking with it. Maybe more organizations will take note of that and, in the future, be more respectful of the people (be they athlete, artist, performer, whatever) who are, in essence, paying the freight for their existence. It kind of seems like you feel her mental health is less important than a pointless press event, that she should "man up" and get on with it. Would you suggest someone with a broken limb "man up" and get on with it? Mental health has a serious stigma attached to it, but I think it's just as important as physical health.

If people are forced to work when they are dealing with mental health issues the answer is not to make everyone else do the same. The answer to agitate for change to industrial relations laws so everyone is the position Osaka is in where she can walk away when she is struggling. Dragging everyone down to the lowest level makes everyone lose.

Let me know how that works out. 

The point is that mental health is personal. The person has to deal with it. I never said she has to be dragged down to anyone's level. Or she should be dragged out of her bed and made to play. I am just saying if answering questions about playing in a world stage for obscene amounts of money is the worst thing you've faced, you've had a pretty good life. And it is kind of difficult to feel bad for that in a year where millions of people lost their livelihoods and businesses that were handed down to them through generations. Something like 20% of American restaurants closed permanently in a year. So no. I don't feel particularly sympathetic. Stop putting sports people on a pedestal. These are some of the most privileged people to walk the earth. 

...is a very hard question. And it's going to depend a lot on the individual.

I've been at the track 4 times when someone died, 3 as a racer and one as a spectator. First time was when Ryan Smith died at Texas World Speedway in '99. I didn't really know him, but he was pitted behind me in the garage and we'd exchanged hellos that morning. Last practice session of the morning he hit a tire wall, hard. The race director announced that he had died during the riders meeting at lunch. Racing started 15 minutes later. I put on my helmet and rode my three races. One of my endurance teamates put his bike in the back of his pickup, and never came back to the track again.

Was either of us right or wrong? IS there any right and wrong in this? I don't know...

Nothing to add except to say we should all fully appreciate what these riders do and risk to entertain us.

I've been at more than half a dozen track-side deaths, as a photo-journalist, racer, and official ... it's an indescribably difficult situation. As Rossi was quoted as saying, either racing or not racing, sadly, is basicaly irrelevant to the situation -- one has to make one's own call in a place like that. For what it's worth, in all the cases I've been involved with, we continued. For me, if I died at the track, I'd prefer everyone went on ... everyone's got their own call on that one.

But I come to give thanks David and the community for theirs. I lost a great mate in April, in extraordinarily sad circumstances, and Jason Dupasquier's passing threw me back into some sort of reflective and gloomy state - he was so young and must have worked really hard to get into the Moto3 field. I found the reflections here thoughtful and positive. Condolences to David for his recent loss and to Jason's family and friends. 

Great piece David, thanks. Appreciate you mentioning Peter Lenz. He was on my team, and before pocket bikes a staple in our pits. Used to throw him over my shoulder and carry him around. A REALLY neat kid, great family. Grief and loss doesn't stay in individual bins, it is oceanic. Peter's accident was really similar to Dupasquier's. I have been thinking about his family since, Dad especially. There is little to say.

HUG.

Separate thing. What Miller said about that specific wee green pointy protrusion and what it's shape did to races sounds spot on. If they haven't changed it in a year, who can we count on to hit it with black spray paint that Weds night? Or will a well placed burnout do the trick?

 

 

Fate willing, this will not happen again for a long time. But maybe if a rider is killed, it could be declared that racing will continue but it will be a zero-points round with rider participation optional. The points from that round would then be aggregated out somehow, maybe over the remaining rounds.

What more is there to say. It remains a dangerous sport, and hope we continue to endeavour to make it safer.

Thoughts also go to those other riders involved. Compartmentalizing might just be what the human mind does to stay sane.

One word...

Sublimation. The highest of human defenses. Like composting. I aspire to it, and it seems to require that it not be just of and about self. It requires churning what is gross shite, sun and air. Makes ground for fertile life.

 

 

Naomi Osaka: Tennis seems a gladiator-like sport. Not mortal combat, but 1:1 struggle where players need to summon what's required to "win" from within themselves. It's them, their shoes and their rackets with the occassional look at coaches and family. No machine to blame/depend on, no team or Paddock to use (breaks at the sidelines, excepted.) It has to feel lonely out there (I presume) for anyone not emotionally prepared to "perform" in front of thousands (in those fishbowl stadiums) or on intimate side courts (where players walk through crowds to and from these courts) where players can easily hear what spectators say and how they say it. (My one data point: 2019 U.S. Tennis Open) From Naomi's social commentary I believe she's keenly aware that she is a commodity (and has agreed to this via her sponsorships and other commitments) and might be "over it" after having so much time away from the usual tennis schedule. Her life, her choices.

Race or Not: Deaths on the track during these 3-day events are workplace fatalities. I was surprised when several riders (essentially) said: This is our job, and we need to go to work. That's not the norm for (other) workplace fatalities (where the norm is to shut things down for a thorough and comprehensive investigation.) In this case, "the film" tells the story, but at the same time, I was left with the impression (as other riders shared) that this is acceptable loss in their sport (as it seems to be in other motor sports. My one data point: Watching Tom Sneva go airborne at the 1975 Indy 500, catch net and see his car explode and break apart. He returned the next year to continue racing, and that race contiued after cleanup until rain stopped it.)

For me, it is the awe of seeing another human being accomplish what I have never been able to or ever will be able to.

Whether it is because I don't have the skills, opportunity, money or courage to race at that level and face the dangers they do in the pursuit of besting all others is irrelevant.  I am a fan because of what they do and their personalities. 

That Jason was "only" a 19 year old Moto3 rider means I mourn the loss of his lost potential and a young man's life.  For his loved ones and family, they lost more than I will ever feel and that is who has my deepest sympathy.  As do the families of those lost during my fandom in the MotoGP events I have seen or attended.

  • Daijiro Kato
  • Peter Lenz
  • Shoya Tomizawa
  • Marco Simoncelli
  • Luis Salom
  • and now Jason.

Will I end my love affair with racing as a result?  No. As long as there are those willing to accept the risks and race, I will watch their greatness and idolize them as the heros they are.

Wonderful words describing all the complex feelings from the weekend...

This is the first I've heard of the 'closely contesting' part of the etl penalty. Now the decision to leave MO and Mir in original positions makes sense. Until now I had always understood it as 'loss of position' no matter the gap back to the next position behind.

Can't they just paint the green for a couple meters and let the boys finish the corner naturally? That'd be best all around

Being the very top of the sport and the level at which riders may not always be able to "make" their own decisions with regards to racing after tragic events, maybe perhaps its time to discuss an age limit for performing at the very peak of the sport.  

In many countires there is an age limit for "adult" type things in life.  18 for drinking (21 in US), 18 for full solo drivers or riders licence.....  maybe to compete at the Moto3 through MotoGP (a huge televised series) there should be an age limit involved where basically they are at "adult" age, old enough to be making life decisions.  Dupasquier was 19.... and it was tragic....  even more tragic if the rider is 15.  

sure, the feeder series are going to have younger riders... but there is far less pressure to ride in these circumstances, and no one would be complaiing that the juniour class race was cancelled post a death........

 

contrarian comment

1) RIP Jason Dupasquier. Tragic loss. Terrible that they keeop showing on TV. worse that it's the only motorcycle story MSM carriers.

2) But Esparago and Roosi. Danger is part and parcel of the sport and you need tyo accept reponsibility for it. I boxed and everytime you step in the ring, you are "virtually" signing a waiver saying you know this could be bad for you. It is impossible to say "I did not know this was dangerous." Ditto for going 350 kilometres on a motorcycle.

3) Tennis: When, oh when, did answering a few questions at a press conference "a mental health issue?" Maybe it's uncomfortable. Maybe it's embarassing. It's almost assuredly tedious. But when did it ascend to mental health issue? Sorry, not buying it. If you can't handle a couple of questions from reporters, don't get in an industry where you become a public figure. Or, like Casey Stoner, leave that industry.