NOT the MotoGP News: Yellow Fever
Welcome to NOT The MotoGP News – our blog by Guy Anderson. Oh – and when you’re done, make sure to go follow Guy on Twitter – @SirGuyGuisborne
Yellow fever is an acute viral disease. In most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. Symptoms typically improve within five days. In some people within a day of improving, the fever comes back, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin.
As countries go, France and Italy are so similar even to the point that for years we thought both national anthems were just differing versions of sounding the retreat. They also have stunning ladies, men who make us ashamed to be thought of as men, and wine, food, weather.
But Italy has Mugello. God is an Italian architect, an Italian landscape gardener. Mugello is the most beautiful piece of racing tarmac in the world bar none.
But enough of the Philip Larkins…..
Italy also has espresso coffee, and sweet holi moli, someone, some where was feeding an extra specially strong brew into just about every rider and spectator for the whole weekend.
From a damp Friday through to a sunny and hot Sunday, nothing but nothing prepared anyone for possibly the greatest combination of three races you will have the honour of watching. Even Casey Stoner will be itching, just itching to pin back his lobes, file down his gnashers and swing a leg over a red one again.
Moto3 tore up the tarmac, shredded the nerves and made us wonder why our editor insists on mainlining on Horlicks. The DORMA ‘copter cam is a thing of wondrous joy, with a pilot whose name is no doubt Sebastian. And those shots showed one of the longest trains of bikes since a gang of Harley riders heard that doughnuts were free in the next town. The Moto3 youths had found the coffee beans and sipped long and hard on the elixir of mornings. Heart rates approaching rpm, and viewers around the world hoped a defibrillator was nearby.
Boy it was everything you hoped a mad, testosterone fuelled race would ever be. Basically it was mental. Nuts. Crazy. The Sarf African and a bunch of Mediterranean apprentice waiters went at each other with hammers, tongs, scythes, pitch forks and suits of armour. Even all the dead people (well those who have gone to heaven) looked down benignly and said, “Verily, earth is a heavenly place today!” Short of filling up a wet suit with Swarfega, and then pouring a bucket of ball bearing in, we haven’t enjoyed ourselves so much in ages.
All this seriously entertaining madness had it’s collateral; down went Fanny-ati, Off went Aaron Canet, Navarro lost it and Pawi got a bit confused; racing in the top ten for a large slice of the race and it wasn’t wet. The confusion struck him and he disappeared. But hurrah! Antonelli didn’t disappear! He stayed the course and looked good finishing fourth. Over-performing Bagnaia spent the whole race polishing a turd (aka a Mahindra) and finished third (turd?) Turn up for the books was apprentice-apprentice waiter Fabio di Giannantonio. Not only is he a fantastic hand to pick in Scrabble, he’s a top lad on a mission. Señor Gresini is no fool; he may look like an extra from The Lord of Rings trilogy, but he can spot a fast lad fer shure.
Brad the Lad won it from Giannantonio by less time than it takes to think which circuit is better than Mugello (answer; none). The top five looked to be tied together with a piece of rope – all covered by 0.077seconds. This is why we love Moto3! It is nuts!
Moto2 however isn’t. As much as we try to love Motot2, it has become more and more like a bad date; what started out as an attractive idea has descended into war of hope; you hope you’re going to enjoy the end act, but fear it will just drag on and on.
Just to tease us a bit, Moto2 decided to have two races; after Xavi Vierge tossed the Tech-3 Mistral at an airbag out of pure frustration at having to ride such a nag, he punctured the air-bag safety fence. DORMA officially freaked out at the thought of losing TV coverage of Rossi at Mugello, and promptly reduced the second attempt to a 10 lap sprint. This got everyone excited at the thought of a mad sprint for the flag. So excited that a great swathe of riders screwed up the one minute notice that the pit lane was open; so in turn this meant we watched the embarrassment of naughty school kids being taken off the grid to start from pit lane. Great idea to get the second race started quickly. But also a great idea and great way to liven up Moto2. Here in the office, we’d like to see randomly selected riders dragged off the grid just before the race starts in all races. Just to excite us a bit.
After leading the first race, Lowes didn’t have such a good Race 2; he finished over a second behind eventual winner Johann Zarco. Somehow Zarco pulled his finger out after looking less like a WC and more like the tribute act he is; first for him was probably a bigger relief than realising he is French.
The Italian air certainly had a great effect on Lorenzo Baldassarri. Being at home, eating his favourite food and thinking of mama, Bad-Assarri worked his way into contention early on and hassled everyone and anyone who fought for the lead. These brief glimpses of outsiders at the front are the only thing that prevents Moto2 becoming the ginger step-child of Motogp.
And then there was the main race. There is one man at Mugello. Just one. He hasn’t won since 2008, but you ain’t there for anyone else. Yep Uccio was there! And just like a bad penny, his less famous mate tuned up with a new helmet and lots of new hope in his heart and in his fans’ hearts. Rossi used to boss Mugello, and this weekend he set out to do likewise. So good was he that he nabbed pole by a gnat’s noodle from he new best mate (until he beats Rossi) Mav Viñales. What the actual heck is he capable of? Other than having a dad whose favourite film is a eulogy to homo-erotica, there appears to be nothing to make a joke of with Maverick. Damn!
Moody and perpetually sulking Lorenzo was on the second row of the grid. Of all the riders who suit Mugello it is Lorenzo. God-like speed and silky-like style are just meant for this circuit. And from fifth on the grid, Jorge shot off like a virgin in a brothel. No way was he going to miss out on seeing all the track with no one in front of him. Rossi tucked in, looking surprised, but also looking like he genuinely had the pace to pass and pull away. 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare and we still don’t expect a twist to the plot? One week since Game of Thrones and you don’t expect a twist? Oh come on. He didn’t deserve it. He would have won. But he didn’t. Rossi’s engine let go as the journalists say (or as we say – “it went fucking bang”). Thousands started the walk home. The walk away from the circuit. But that left the fans now able to see the racing! #yay! By now Marc Marquez had once again threatened the ‘Onda to some kind of death and made the useless lump of boat anchor start to behave. Either that or the man is a genius. Getting one of the worst bikes up to the front end of a race and then trying to take on one of the best riders in the world who is on the best bike in the world is basically impossible. So Marquez did. God only knows why Marquez hasn’t signed to Yamaha for nothing is beyond us.
In what was some of the best racing we’ve seen since Philip Island, Lorenzo and Marquez passed and re-passed in a breathtaking arena. Hey F1, were you watching?
Unless you were in Outer Mongolia, you know the result; Lorenzo by a gnat’s hair
Best part of the weekend for us? Rossi getting a Tissot watch for pole from Biaggi’s ex who look’s remarkably wonderful after bearing two children for Max. Wonder if he ever complained about riding her…