After the excitement and thrills of last week’s German GP, it was back to normality at Laguna Seca with a comparatively event-free race.
Despite a massive highside in practice, Jorge Lorenzo made an early charge from pole position and took Dani Pedrosa with him. Casey Stoner was struggling with a full fuel tank (something many of us would die for) in the opening laps, but soon caught Pedrosa who is still hurting after surgery. It didn’t take long for Stoner to reel in Lorenzo who was clearly battling the bruises sustained in his attempt to orbit the earth. After busting a move to take the lead, Stoner pressed on and eased to victory, from Whoregay and Pedrosa.
Valentino Rossi made a mistake in qualifying by going too quickly, putting the Ducati 7th on the grid, and therefore leaving little room for his usual dash-through-the-pack improvement during the race. He finished 6th. Rossi had a race-long battle with Nicky Hayden, who rode Ducati’s latest GP11.1 in practice and didn’t like it. Ducati really need something completely new to end this torrid time. Maybe a trellis frame like some of you are suggesting?
Only 13 finished after a number of crashes and retirements, while Randy DeRuinit didn’t even make the start after breaking more bones in qualifying. Fellow crash-meister Marco Simoncelli, who stayed on for a whole race last weekend, slid off unhurt, as did Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista.
Ben Bostrum, ex-WSB winner and current AMA midfielder, made his MotoGP debut at the age of 37 and rode Toni Elias’ spare shitter. B-Bos brought in some of Michael Jordan’s cash to the LCR Honda team in a bid to entice Elias to go faster. It didn’t work. Tiger Toni got lapped and Bostrom retired after running into the gravel. It would of interesting to see what would have happened when the rain came down and they had to pit to swap bikes.
Stoner once said that if you’re quick, you’ll show the pace immediately no matter what equipment you’re on. Some of the recent recruits have backed up this theory – Bautista, Barbera and Spies – while Hiroshi Aoyama is never going to worry the top five. Loris Capirossi is just riding around collecting his wages and is bordering on the obese, and Tortoise Toni shouldn’t last the season after another dismal ride. We need Jonny Rea or another hungry young rider on the grid. Actually, make that ten.