Laguna Seca and I seem to have a love-hate relationship. Case to point: Last year, was the Great Northern Power Grid incident. This year? An early morning flight that left my brains addled. Throw in a project that involves considerable brainpower and a certain legend that has nothing to do with motorsports or motorcycles, and my woes are complete. Oh wait, I forgot to add the dreaded motorsports summer break to the list. Thank god, we only have 5 more days to go before Indianapolis. Phew. I don’t think I could have taken any more breaks. I need me some racing, and how!
Farewell Andrea Antonelli
The Laguna Seca race came a few hours after terrible, terrible news from Moscow. Team GoEleven Kawasaki racer Andrea Antonelli died in a horrific accident during the rain-drenched World Supersports Championship. There was a minute’s silence at the MotoGP grid at the start as a mark of respect, to remember a young rider, a rising star. He will be missed.
At the Corkscrew
The Laguna Seca race review had to be set aside in favour of real-job commitments. But I can’t write this post without mentioning the one big moment that made jaws drop. You know I speak of the Rossi move Marc Marquez made on Valentino Rossi, at the ‘Valentino Rossi memorial line’. It was a stellar pass made on the Master by a rookie out on his first time at the Corkscrew.
The race spectacular, with Stefan Bradl leading for most of the race, a first for him, while Marquez stalked him a la lion chasing a deer. The young Spaniard then made a classic pass to take a win at Laguna Seca and become the youngest rider to score back-to-back wins. Bradl took second place with Rossi taking the third.
The Laguna Seca round kicked off with an announcement from former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden. We have been expecting it for some time. But, I guess there were many of us who were trying hard to ignore the reality. The Kentucky Kid said, during the pre-event press conference that he did not have a MotoGP ride for 2014. It was an emotional announcement. Hayden said that he did have a few options, he still loved racing and felt that he had a lot to give. “It’s not the perfect situation. It is what it is. I have to land on my feet and try and make do with it,” he said. My heart did break when he said, “Nobody likes to get sacked, but that’s how it is.” But there was still that charming spark, you know the one that turns all women (here I mean, me) addle-brained, when he said: “Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s alright. I’ll live.” One thing’s for sure: I will really miss the Kentucky Kid! Though, I think, most of us are secretly hoping he shifts to the mad, crazy, absolutely wonderful world of WSBK.
We suspected it for a while, but then I think most of us were sort of hoping, it would really happen. But it did. Cal Crutchlow will be racing for the Ducati team in 2014 and 2015. He will be pairing up with former teammate Andrea Dovizioso. They have given us some phenomenal battles in the past – not so much as this year. Will our honey badger turn the tables next year on the factory Ducati? Vale didn’t have much luck with the Italian team. And Dovi has been heard complaining this season. Cal, on the other hand, has been having his strongest season this year, running 5th in the world standings, one point behind Vale. Fingers crossed this talented rider will not end up racing just his teammate next year, and will instead be right up there at the top. One can hope, can’t we? Meanwhile, Tech 3 announced that Pol Espargaro, Aleix’s brother, will take Cal’s ride and make that all-important transition to MotoGP.
Texas Tornado Returns
What can I say? It was awesome listening to Ben Spies comment through the Laguna Seca race. But his presence has been missed around the circuit. Elbowz will be back for the Indianapolis round. He’s excited. So am I!
The Numbers So Far
We are moving past the mid-season break and into the final lap of the season. Nine races to go before we crown the king. Will it be the rookie? Or will it be the reigning king? Or will it be the steadfast racer who has been waiting for his moment in the sun? We all knew as the season kicked off that Marc Marquez would give the heavyweights a run for their money. He has proven us right. Marquez currently leads the championship with 163 points. His teammate Dani Pedrosa started the season with much hope, but has since had a run-in with bad luck, as has Jorge Lorenzo. Both of them are at 2nd and 3rd with 147 and 137 points. Valentino Rossi has made the leap to 4th with 117 points while the Honey Badger’s Laguna Seca performance saw him slide down to 5th place with 116 points.
This is by no means the end. The season has been phenomenal so far and the battle for points will intensify. The best man will win, that’s for sure. But the list of best men at the grid is long. This is one battle you don’t want to miss!