May 2017

Reading The Tea Leaves: How Serious Is Valentino Rossi's Injury?

When Valentino Rossi crashed his motocross bike while training last Thursday, he triggered a wave of speculation on just how serious his injuries were. It was clear that there was reason for concern, as the Italian had been taken straight from the motocross track at Cavallara to the emergency room at Rimini hospital. The fact that he was kept in overnight made it even more worrying.

Initial reports from local newspapers and websites validated such concerns. There were reports that Rossi had fractured one or more ribs, that he had injured his shoulder, even that he had taken a blow to the head and had picked up a concussion as a result.

That presented the Movistar Yamaha team with a serious problem. One which they have handled with considerable subtlety and expertise, it has to be said. Their first and major priority was to control the narrative around Rossi's injury, giving the media the information they wanted, while keeping their options open.

However, despite their careful information strategy, if you read between the lines, there was clearly more going on than met the eye. In all of their press releases, Yamaha were treading a fine line between being as honest as possible about Rossi's injuries, while leaving underlying questions unanswered.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The tyre that may change everything

Sunday’s Italian GP marks one-third distance in the 2017 MotoGP championship, but Mugello may be the start of a new championship

There is no part on a racing motorcycle more important than the front tyre. Everything comes from the front tyre: the all-important rider feel, corner-entry speed, mid-corner speed and therefore corner-exit speed.

And this weekend Michelin changes its front tyre for the remaining 13 races; from the 06, used at the first five races, to the 70, which features a stiffer casing.

Everyone knows it was Valentino Rossi who preferred the 70 from preseason testing, but the majority preferred the 06, so the 70 was put aside and everyone went racing with the 06. But as soon as riders started digging deeper, most realised they wanted a stiffer front, which would deform less during braking and entry.

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Nicky Hayden Retrospective Part 2: The Winding Road To The Top

As a tribute to Nicky Hayden, who tragically died last week, succumbing to the injuries sustained in a cycling accident, we have been running a series of three articles over the past couple of days, by WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast member Steve English. You can read his tribute to Nicky here, and the first part on Hayden's early years in racing here.

The final part of Steve's tribute to Nicky Hayden examines the American's path through racing, from flat track to road racing, and his success in the AMA series. The lessons learned there, and the determination and talent he showed would eventually take Hayden to MotoGP. Written before Hayden's tragic death, the quotes from Nicky and from his father Earl are both still in the present tense. But Hayden's story is such a powerful one, it deserves to be heard as it was told.

The winding road to the top for a champion

The choices we make can have consequences for years. Nicky Hayden's choices as a teenager led him on a path to a world championship

In all walks of life the decisions that you make at an early age can have untold consequences in later life. Whether it's the college you decide to attend or your first job there are certain moments that become cornerstones of your life. For most people the choices can be corrected over the passing of time but for a motorcycle racer with a short career they can have huge consequences.

The pressure on young shoulders once racing transitions from a hobby to a career are huge. Families stake their financial future on a child in the hope rather than expectation it will all work out. In the current economic climate this risk is huge but it has always been the case. The Hayden family rolled the dice on their sons' racing careers and with a world championship trophy on the mantle back home in Owensboro, Kentucky it has worked out well for Nicky Hayden.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 53: Le Mans - The French Connection

The latest (and slightly belated) episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out. In this edition, David Emmett quizzes Neil Morrison on his trip to Le Mans for the French round of MotoGP. It proved to be an extremely eventful race weekend indeed.

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2017 Donington Park WorldSBK Round Up: Kawasaki's 100th, A Streak Broken, And Silly Season Stirs

The WorldSBK paddock and the racing community came together at Donington Park to pay tribute to Nicky Hayden but after two great races in the Superbike class, a Supersport race that saw great battles and a Supersport 300 race that saw a three rider scrap for the win, it was the racing that paid the biggest tribute to The Kentucky Kid.

The weekend started and ended on an emotional note but it was Kawasaki that took the spoils with a dominant weekend that saw the Japanese marque claim Superbike, Superstock and Supersport honors. With victories for Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea the manufacturer also clocked up their 100th victory in WorldSBK.

In parc ferme after the race the release of emotion was clear to see with both riders enjoying the moment with the team. The celebratory mood started with Rea giving his son, Jake, a lift into the closed area on the tank of his ZX10-RR and from that point onwards it was clear how much the win meant for the world champion.

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Nicky Hayden Retrospective Part 1: A Journey Through His Past

As a tribute to Nicky Hayden, who tragically died last week, succumbing to the injuries sustained in a cycling accident, we will be running a series of three articles over the next couple of days, by WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast member Steve English.

After Steve's tribute to Nicky Hayden posted earlier, the second article is part one of a long look back at Nicky's early years, and the passion for racing he developed in childhood. It explains some of the motivation which drove the American to such great heights of success. Written before Hayden's tragic death, the quotes from Nicky and from his father Earl are both still in the present tense. But Hayden's story is such a powerful one, it deserves to be heard as it was told.

Nicky Hayden, a journey through his past

Growing up in Kentucky Nicky Hayden was a motorcycle racing protegé from an early age but winning hasn't come easy to the Hayden family

Over the last 15 years Nicky Hayden has become on of the most recognisable faces in the motorcycle racing world. He's morphed from the Kentucky Kid to an old hand of the paddock and now the Kentucky Legend.

But where did that legendary status come from? Hard work, dedication and an insatiable love of racing are the traits that have made Hayden famous but the cornerstone has always been family and loyalty.

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A Tribute To Nicky Hayden, By Steve English

As a tribute to Nicky Hayden, who tragically died last week, succumbing to the injuries sustained in a cycling accident, we will be running a series of three articles over the next couple of days, by WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast member Steve English.

The first piece is Steve's moving tribute and memories of Hayden from working with him in both the MotoGP and WorldSBK paddocks.

I've always been a fan of racing and from my earliest memories all I can remember is watching racing and loving it. From when I started watching motorcycle racing, I was drawn towards Flat Track racers from the United States. Perhaps it was because the risks they take are so similar to Road Racing in Ireland, or just their style on a bike. There was always an attraction for me towards Flat Trackers and as a child the riders I admired were Americans who grew up on the dirt. Whether it was hearing stories of Kenny Roberts and Freddie Spencer or watching Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz, the Americans held a certain mystique for me.

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