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You Could’ve Been No. 1

She adores MotoGP, LOVES Valentino Rossi and is a complete SBK junkie. Oh, she would also like a direwolf, thank you very much. Gisele L. Varotti writes about the Phillip Island round of MotoGP, its ups, downs, the new World Champion, and good ole Dani.

By Gisele L. Varotti

I get so focused when I’m watching bike races that I hardly think of anything else. But I caught myself humming a Muse’s song during the Phillip Island round.

Moto3 and Moto2 had amazing, breathtaking races even though both World Championships have been already, or are on the verge of being, decided: Cortese was crowned Moto3 World Champion last week in Sepang due to an argument between Maverick Viñales and the Spaniard’s Team, Avintia Blusens. He said he would quit because the bike and team were not good enough for the competition. He had a 2-year contract already signed so he thought better, apologized, and came back; Marc Marquez was crowned Moto2 World Champion in Phillip Island in spite of Pol Espargaro’s brilliant efforts and lonely ride. Speaking of, I don’t like large gaps wins, but when I saw Anthony West, Marquez and Scott Redding fighting till the last corner for a podium spot, I really didn’t care about that! That’s how bike racing should be, how the “Queen” category should be…

…And I was really hopeful it would be a nice and rather exciting race. After all this was Phillip Island, a challenging and beautiful track.

It started well with a kiddo kangaroo running to the run-off area like crazy to get out of the way, some aviation show with one of the pilots sporting a “Go Casey” sticker on his helmet, the usual celebrities surrounding the grid (Mick Doohan was the only one who I knew) and a girl singing the Aussie national anthem (the organizers always make that part suck, don’t they?).

Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Casey Stoner started the race with a great fight that ended soon after Pedrosa crashed. Image courtesy Repsol Honda Team

But the reason why I had high hopes for this race was due to the title decision. With Casey Stoner on pole and Dani Pedrosa 3rd, the Spaniard would have to fight his way to lead the race. There was absolutely no way, his teammate would hand him the win on a silver plate. So I thought, “Dude, this will be something wild.” And for the first two laps it really was. Dani overtook both Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo and was starting to get away, when suddenly, all my hopes were there sliding, getting dirty, raising a little cloud of dust, rolling and rolling and rolling in the kitty litter…just like Pedrosa was. It was over. A super-early crash. And all the expected fun was, once again, over.

Lorenzo was crowned champion. But he hardly had any competition now, did he? Image courtesy Yamaha Factory Racing

Stoner won, it was his 6th win in a row at Phillip Island, and Lorenzo was crowned World Champion for the 2nd time without even having to sweat bullets. I have nothing against Pedrosa; apart from thinking that he should smile a bit more. I was cheering for him to be World Champion after 7 years in the class but he really does not have that special spark, does he? Either that or he is the unluckiest rider out there (don’t even get me started on Ben Spies. He’s a great rider and I like him heaps, but someone has put one hell of a bad mojo on him this season). Dani fought Lorenzo very well for 2-3 races and resurrected the World Championship but, unfortunately, that was not enough.

The Honey Badger is just about the coolest, isn’t he? Image courtesy Stuart Dallas / MotoRaceReports; Used under Creative Commons License Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The fight for the 4th place among Andrea Dovizioso, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl was hot, but a million miles away. Besides, it was 3:20 am and Dorna hardly showed Vale dueling with his shadow to finish the race in 7th place, so I decided it was time to hit the road and go to bed. The only down side to that decision was that I missed Cal on the podium, his cute accent, and his lovely comment about his “bronchitis fluids” being on the shade of the yellowish green of Monster’s claw. The Honeybadger doesn’t care. The Honeybadger doesn’t give a f***.

The man who could have been king: Valentino Rossi. Image used with permission from Enel (This image is property of Enel and Dorna Sports; http://www.flickr.com/enelsharing)

Later in the day came the riders’ post-race comments and an interview where Vale showed, for God knows how many times already, his frustrations with Ducati. He said that what frustrates him the most is knowing that on the penultimate race of the season, his Desmo16 is the same old piece of garbage (my words not his, although that was what he meant), of the kind he rode in Valencia test back in 2010. Ducati have improved nothing after all his and Team46’s efforts, which brings me back to the song I was humming:

You could’ve been number one

You could’ve ruled the whole world

And we could’ve had so much fun

But you blew it away“.

Thanks goodness Valencia is the last race of the season, because I have never wanted the winter break to come as much as I have done these past 2 years! What a huge waste of time, especially Vale’s, these years were. Roll Valencia test (November 13th), because I can’t wait to see Vale back to where he should never have left.

Bring 2013 on! And all the overtaking, podiums and Fratelli d’Italia!

Follow Gisele L. Varotti on Twitter.

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3 Responses

  1. What a weekend it was, MotoGp and then F1 in my own backyard. I agree with whatever you say about Pedrosa. He is the most insipid front runner out there. I agree even Kimi does not smile, But kimi has this rockstar image which pedrosa can only dream of. Or maybe not. and that is his problem. Maybe lady luck does not smile on him because he is busy looking grumpily at her. But i think in this season he became a man from a boy. Maybe it really will be exciting next year. And i have had the same argument about Ben, with my friend. Winning SBK in your rookie year can’t be a fluke.

    But about Valentino. Well, here is how I see it. I have had fights with my girlfriend about people’s intent and their action. To me action is more important, intent will not always get you points. I mean what a bland obituary it will be to read “he died full of good intent.” Sounds like dying full of spinach than a well done beef steak. But, I think from Valentino’s perspective, it was something that he really wanted to try. He failed, miserably at that. But we have to admit, that more rider can now ride Ducati than any time before. Please remember it destroyed Marco’s career. I don’t think it is going to do that to Nicky or Dovi. So, to the world, Vale might be forgiven for trying to attempt Italian on Italian, if he starts winning back on yamaha next year, which i think he will. But to me, he will always be god, away from any kind of intent vs action debate. Because the world can forget that he could have stayed for the rest of his life at Honda like Pedrosa and won probably all this while, but he chose to move. And that is that.

    • I agree. At least Vale tried. Though it breaks my heart to see him at back of the pack so often. Here’s hoping Yamaha brings him back all the glory. Forza Vale

    • Hello guys! 1st, thanks for reading and commenting on the post, I really appreciate it.

      I agree with what you’ve said about Vale. I think that what he felt in 2010 was the same feeling (tho he was like a cornered rat. Yamaha had a great rider in Lorenzo and a promising one in Ben. They had to choose, and they kept the younger ones. I can’t condemn them either) he had back in 2003 when he left Honda to Yamaha (I’m not talking about the relationship between rider and team). He *had* to go and try it, otherwise he’d be kinda a ‘hypocrite’ if he didn’t do it after what he wrote in his 1st book. I’m glad he did it otherwise we’d never know what could’ve happened. I’m so sad that it didn’t work out for him and Team 46 because they did their best (that’s the reason why I’m so annoyed on these two wasted years). And I know what people say about Ducati/Stoner and I can’t deny that 2007 was a glorious year for both but after that year his wins also began to decrease. That bike is a wild best that not everyone can tame. Melandri couldn’t. Capirossi couldn’t. Rossi couldn’t. Hayden is trying but is still struggling. Maybe Dovi will, maybe he won’t. I think Ducati will have quite a rider in Iannone: he’s wild and have never ride an japanese bike. But that only time will tell, thing that Rossi doesn’t have loads right now.
      Vale is also a god to me and I’ll always stand by him & Team 46 and support his decisions but I’m so happy that they’ll be back to Yamaha because seeing them so down and frustrated is really heartbreaking.

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