Monday, September 15, 2008

Valentino carves up Indy

While the young Sebastian Vettel was speeding his way to victory in Monza, Italy, across the pond, the inaugural Red Bull USGP motorcycle race was also being run in the wet stuff; Hmm? I’m sensing a pattern here... Something about racing in inclement weather on road courses...

As hopeful local hero Nicky Hayden put on his brave face and actually led the first portion of the event, leading 12 laps before “The Doctor” swooped by once again, as Valentino Rossi would make history by becoming MOTO GP’s debutant victor at the Speedway, along with notching his 69th career victory, to become the sports Winn ingest rider, breaking his tie with Giacomo Agostini, who’d previously held the record for 31 years...

Having faced the wrath of Hurricane Ike’s ire over the entire weekend, riders faced horrendous conditions with heavy rain and winds of 50-80mph, as the race was finally red flagged on lap 20, as Rossi’s FIAT Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo settled for the final step on the podium, after having nearly passed Hayden for second place.

And isn’t it interesting to note that the races outcome was partially a byproduct of MOTO GP’s waning tyre war, as Hayden was just one of three riders on the mostly discarded Michelin’s, while Rossi and the bulk of the field utilize Bridgestone’s, as Valentino is now almost ascertained of his sixth MOTO GP crown after having made the switch to the Bridgestone rubber and holds a commanding 87 point lead. Yet, it would have been quite humourous if the French rubber manufacturer could have once again claimed victory at the Speedway after its 2005 Formula 1 tyre debacle...

Meanwhile, in only his third MOTO GP event, reigning triple AMA Superbike Champion and Suzuki wildcard entrant Ben Spies put on a dazzling display, riding his bright blue “Scooter” to an excellent sixth place, while the current MOTO GP Champion seemed to be slightly out of his element in the atrocious conditions, as Casey Stoner would finish in fourth, 19 seconds adrift of Lorenzo. Yet, in the dry, Stoner’s Ducatti held a slight edge in straight-line speed, besting the Doctor with a top speed of 193.4mph vs. Rossi’s 189.8, but we know that top speed doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the quickest lap time and I suppose with the FIAT sponsorship of Rossi’s Yamaha it should have been a foregone conclusion that he’d win the race on the Italian Grand Prix weekend...

Salute and Viva Italia!

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