Archive - May 2011
The aftermath of the crash between Marco Simoncelli and Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans is now spiralling rapidly out of control. The ride-through penalty awarded by Race Direction (for "riding in an irresponsible manner, which could cause danger to others") caused a good deal of controversy around the world, and just as the affair appeared to be dying down, the situation was reignited when Race Direction announced that Simoncelli would be called into a meeting with them at Barcelona.
But things have gotten even worse over the past few days: the Italian press agency ANSA is reporting that Simoncelli has received threats of physical violence prior to the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona. The reports, which an article at GPOne.com expands upon, state that the threats were first noticed and reported by Spanish journalists, and that San Carlo Gresini Honda team boss Fausto Gresini confirmed the threats to ANSA. The threats reportedly grew out of anti-Simoncelli groups on social networking sites which sprang up after the crash at Le Mans, and turned into threats of physical harm in recent days.
The period between the Le Mans and Catalunya Grand Prix appears to have had a salutary affect on Marco Simoncelli. In the San Carlo Gresini Honda press release preview of the MotoGP round at Barcelona, Simoncelli has expressed his regret at the crash at Le Mans, in which he and Dani Pedrosa collided and Pedrosa broke his collarbone, and for which he was given a ride-through penalty. Read the official press release below:
SIMONCELLI LOOKING TO THE FUTURE IN BARCELONA
Press Release previews from the Marlboro Ducati, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, Factory Yamaha, Mapfre Aspar Ducati and LCR Honda MotoGP teams ahead of the Barcelona MotoGP round:
Sometimes the pundits are right: the race weekend at Miller Motorsports Park turned out exactly as predicted, with a convincing double victory for Carlos Checa. The Spaniard put in a repeat performance of last year, with the crucial difference that on Monday, he avoided the technical problems that left him stranded by the wayside in both races. Checa was a little slow off the mark in race 1, taking all of 6 laps to take over the lead and run away with the race, the Althea Ducati rider treading carefully in the still chilly and uncertain conditions. Race 2 was a different matter altogether, Checa taking the lead into the first corner and out of sight by the end of the first lap. The Spaniard barely put a foot wrong all weekend, his only mistake being to slip over in the mud while trying to pick up a Ducati flag from a fan to celebrate victory in race 1.
But while Checa's record is impressive - six wins out of ten starts, with two more podiums thrown in for good measure - his 61-point championship lead is down to more than just his own dominance. Number 2 in the championship is Marco Melandri, who had a very mediocre weekend at Miller after a strong outing at Monza. In 3rd place is Max Biaggi, who seems determined to do everything in his power to lose his #1 plate in the most heartbreaking way possible this year.
The press releases from the World Superbike teams after the races at Miller Motorsports Park on Monday:
I'm sure you're all familiar with the situation - after all, if you're reading a motorcycle racing website, the chances are good that you are no stranger to speed - you're out for a ride or a drive somewhere, and you get pulled over by the local constabulary. There are a number of responses to getting stopped by the long arm of the law: loudly protesting your innocence and shouting at the officer who stopped you; sullenly sitting on your bike and responding to all questions with little more than a Neanderthal grunt; or giving the good man or woman a welcoming smile, admitting your failings (whether you believe the charges to be just or not), claiming it to be totally out of character and promising never to let it happen again. And of the three possible responses, it is fairly obvious which one will receive the lightest sentence (and no, it's not the one where you tell the officer exactly what part of the male or female anatomy they most resemble).
Results and summary of World Superbike race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park:
Results and summary of Race 1 for the World Superbikes at Miller Motorsports Park:
Marco Simoncelli has been called to face Race Direction at Barcelona, to answer questions about the incident between himself and Dani Pedrosa at the Le Mans Round of MotoGP. Below is the official press release, analysis to follow:
Statement from the MotoGP Race Direction
The Race Direction will call Italian rider Marco Simoncelli during the Catalunya Grand Prix this week, to further discuss the incident during the MotoGP race at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans.
A drop or two of rain always adds an extra dimension to motorcycle racing, and Sunday at Miller saw more than a drop or two of rain. That rain had a pretty big impact on the order, with riders such as BMW's Leon Haslam, who had struggled in the dry, suddenly finding themselves near the very top in the morning downpour, then dropping back as the conditions improved a little.
In fact, the rain may have inadvertently highlighted BMW's problem: In the dry, Corser was going strongly while Haslam struggled. In the wet, Haslam positively flew while Corser dropped down the order. As the conditions improved, the fates of the two men reversed, Haslam knocked out of Superpole 2 - crashing while trying to push - while Corser secured a spot on the second row of the grid. The settings of one appear not to suit the settings of the other, and that may go some way towards explaining why the development of the S1000RR has been erratic. The electronics, especially, have been the BMW's bugbear, with the complex system that BMW has developed in-house causing the riders, team and engineers plenty of headaches.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams after Sunday's rain-drenched qualifying at Miller:
Results and summary of a semi-dry Superpole from Miller Motorsports Park: