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Images And Words On Day 2 At Donington From Scott Jones

We are once again lucky to receive yet more fantastic photos and an on-the-spot report from Scott Jones of Turn2Photography. Enjoy!

 

Saturday Report From Donington
 

An English Summer Day

The promised UK weather arrived for Saturday and we spent the morning sessions at the Fogerty Esses, watching the 125s and then Premiere Class tiptoe through the chicane. It was raining hard in the morning and many riders judged the previous day's braking points somewhat optimistically, leaving them trying the grass route back to the tarmac.

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Memories Of Summer: Some Images From Misano

As most of you know by now, we occasionally feature MotoGP photography from sources off the beaten path here at MotoGPMatters.com. A couple of months ago, someone who posts as RLCanon over on the Adventure Rider website posted up a couple of pictures from his visit to the Misano MotoGP round. We liked them a lot, and we hope you like them too.

Colin Edwards, demonstrating how to crane your neck.

 

Edwards again. His '07 helmet paint job is truly a thing of beauty, as is the tail section on the '08 M1. Shame the results aren't as good as the bike's looks.

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More Laguna Seca Photos, Because You Liked The Previous Bunch So Much

Well, the previous batch of photos from Jules "Popmonkey" Cisek proved such a success that we thought we'd provide some more. Reader Scott Jones e-mailed us to let us know that he had some photos of Laguna Seca, and he kindly agreed to let us feature a few here. We hope you agree with us that they are well worth a gander.

If you've never seen one, this is what the tail of a Kawasaki Supersport bike looks like

Ben's spare leathers

 

Choices, choices ...

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A Few Belated Images From Laguna Seca

A friend of MotoGPMatters.com, and an extremely talented photographer, Jules Cisek, was lucky enough to visit the Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca and came home with a bunch of fantastic photographs. Jules, who some of you may also know as Popmonkey on a number of motorcycle-related forums, like Rideontwo.com, was kind enough to let us use some of his pictures. So here's a selection of some of our personal favorites.


Colin Edwards


Valentino Rossi
 


John Hopkins


Someone remembered to bring an Australian flag, just in case.

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2006 MotoGP Valencia Qualifying Practice - Knife Edge

If the atmosphere was tense during practice yesterday, today it was as taut as piano wire. The morning session had already seen the Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi square off on qualifying tires, Hayden coming within 4/100ths of Rossi's fastest lap, with both men diving just under Sete Gibernau's qualifying time from last year. Prior to the qualifiers coming out, both men had set long runs of 1:33 laps, proving they both had decent race pace. But neither of these sets of laps were quite as impressive as Loris Capirossi's 19 lap run, 18 laps of which were below 1:34. With Capirex capable of doing 2/3rds race distance on his Ducati at that kind of pace, it no longer looked like a two man fight.

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Silly Season Loose Ends - Edwards And Tamada On Yamahas

With the season 2006 drawing to a climax, there are still a couple of loose ends to be tidied up for next year. The outcome of such loose ends usually comes as no surprise, but just occasionally, a result comes seemingly from out of the blue. That Colin Edwards would prolong his stay with Yamaha was an open secret, especially after his deft display of teamwork in Portugal. Makoto Tamada, however, is an entirely different story.

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2006 Valencia FP2 - Sleight Of Hand

The second Free Practice session at Valencia threw up some interesting, but rather deceptive results. While everyone's focus was on Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, it was Ducati man Loris Capirossi who stole the show. Capirex headed the timesheets for nearly all of the session, only briefly deposed by flying Frenchman Randy de Puniet on the Kawasaki. De Puniet's fast lap was the first obvious sign of qualifying tires being used, though surprisingly, only the top three riders went for an all-out shot with qualifiers on.

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2006 Valencia FP1 - Battle Is Joined

We already knew that the Valencia race would be tense, and hard-fought, and the first free practice session has lived up to our expectations. The session saw times staying very close, with the two main protagonists taking it in turns to leapfrog over each others' times. At the end of the session, it was Valentino Rossi who came out ahead, but only just. Rossi set the fastest time of the morning, with a time of 1:33.313, just 6/1000ths ahead of Casey Stoner, and 7/1000ths ahead of Nicky Hayden.

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Pedrosa: "I'll Be The Best Help Hayden Can Get In Valencia"

In an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca, Dani Pedrosa has promised to help Hayden in Valencia. "I was very upset at what happened in Estoril," the diminutive Spaniard said, "but I'll be the best help possible in Valencia".

Pedrosa was extremely apologetic for the incident at Estoril, which saw the Spaniard take out his American team mate, turning Hayden's 12 point title lead into an 8 point deficit. "I want to win, but not at the cost of my team mate's title race."

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Pedrosa, Hayden and Repsol Honda - An Accident Waiting To Happen

In Turn 6, on the 5th lap of the Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril, the race, Nicky Hayden's title hopes, and a large part of the world's motorcycling fans exploded. Seconds after Dani Pedrosa's impetuous passing attempt on Hayden, taking both riders out, even the official MotoGP website's live video feed went into meltdown, depriving thousands of shocked US fans of the aftermath of the resultant crash, and the thrilling end to a literally unbelievable race. A wave of shock went through all who watched, and once incredulous brains had finally come to terms with what had happened, the same question filled millions of heads: How could this have been allowed to happen?

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Bayliss Subs For Gibernau, And Capirossi Won't Race The 800 At Valencia

After Sete Gibernau was injured in a crash caused by Casey Stoner, ironically the man who will replace him next year at Ducati, speculation was rife as to who would replace Gibernau at Valencia. The name getting the most attention was Troy Bayliss, and Ducati have finally made it official: today they issued a press release stating that Bayliss will ride at Valencia. Bayliss is understandably delighted, and it must give extra satisfaction, after being dropped by the Ducati MotoGP team two years ago.

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Winning Pays Off - Toni Elias Renews With Gresini

After putting on a spectactular showing at the weekend, beating Valentino Rossi by 2/1000ths of a second to take the win at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Toni Elias was the name on everyone's lips. His gamble paid off, as Gresini Racing has announced that Elias will be riding with the team for 2007. Gresini expects to have Honda V4 800s next year, though he is yet to announce who will be sponsoring the team, as Gresini's title sponsor, Fortuna, are withdrawing from MotoGP at the end of this season.

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It's Official - Casey Stoner To Ducati For 2007

After several months of speculation, and an unofficial announcement at Estoril, Ducati Corse has finally officially announced that Casey Stoner has signed to ride for them in 2007. Few details of his contract were made public, other than Stoner will be riding the GP7 Desmosedici next year, with an option to ride in 2008.

Claudio Domenicali, Managing Director of Ducati Corse, is quoted as saying of Stoner: "With his enthusiasm and aggressive riding style, Casey is sure to give our fans some extraordinary emotions." So far this year, those emotions have been elation as Stoner runs at the front, followed by despair as he loses the front end and crashes out. What is certain is that Stoner should be very spectacular to watch on the Ducati, and his riding style should match Loris Capirossi's, who is the Ducati team's main rider.

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The MotoGP Merry-Go-Round Continues - Stoner and Checa Moves

Well, contrary to what I wrote in a previous post, Casey Stoner is almost certain to stay in MotoGP after all. He will be losing his ride with LCR Honda at the end of this season, but he has announced to the press that he will be riding a Ducati in 2007. No details of the contract were released, but with Loris Capirossi taking a nice pay rise, it is unlikely that Stoner will be getting the $3 million he was reportedly demanding. However, the upside for Stoner is that he will be on a factory machine, and not have to wait in line for parts from HRC with the other satellite Honda riders.

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2006 Estoril Qualifying Practice

The knife-edge tension of this morning's free practice session was continued this afternoon, as the riders set out on the qualifying practice for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix. Spectators were not to be disappointed.

The session started with a very fast lap by Casey Stoner, and though many tried, the young Australian sat on top of the timesheets for a very long time, while most riders were out tweaking race set-ups and selecting race tires. Behind Stoner, it was Valentino Rossi who seemed to have gained the first advantage, close to matching Stoner's times, and never dropping out of the top 3.

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