Valentino Rossi has returned to form, what with two consecutive wins after a half-season drought, standing back on top of the Moto GP standings after longer than that, and getting back into full clown mode after his win at Le Mans in France.
This time Rossi paid tribute to a past champion, Angel Nieto of Spain. Nieto had 90 GP wins in his career and before France, Rossi had 89. He asked Nieto about a stunt if and when Rossi got his 90th, and the Spanish champion happily agreed. A special set of leathers was made, and on the cool-down lap of Rossi’s 90th win in France last weekend he pulled over and let Nieto take the controls to finish the lap with Rossi riding as pillion carrying a flag that read “90 + 90”.
Other than the Yamaha factory — which took the top three positions – and Jorge Lorenzo, who came second despite riding with broken bones in both feet — everyone seemed to be pretty p*ssed about the race. Defending champion Casey Stoner’s Ducati suffered a rare failure, and although the tough little Aussie pushed the bike nearly the whole way around the track to change machines (allowed because it was classified as a ‘wet’ race) he still finished last.
Even third-place finisher Colin Edwards on the Tech 3 satellite Yamaha was p*ssed. Always good for a quote, the Texan said, “I honestly thought that today was going to be my day with the pace I’d been able to run all weekend. I was fastest in free practice, fastest in the warm-up and second on the grid so I had high expectations. I really thought I could have got my first win out there.”
Sounding more like himself, he added to veteran scribe Julian Ryder, “I’m going for a beer, y’all can kiss my ass”.
Dani Pedrosa put his Repsol Honda on pole but finished fourth, complaining (as usual), this time about his tires. Chris Vermeulen had his best finish of the year, taking fifth on his Rizla Suzuki, but could only say, “"Well that was alright – I guess!”
Andrea Dovizioso, one of the spectacular newbies on a JiR Scot Honda, said, “We have to do better in qualifying — we know that — and have a better pace in the race.”
In seventh, Vermeulen’s team-mate Loris Capirossi said, “It has been really hard for me all weekend; we just couldn’t go as quick as we wanted to.”
Eighth went to Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden: “That wasn’t too pretty. All weekend we’ve been missing something, the pace hasn’t been there … This has never been an easy track for me. I’d say Le Mans is the worst track for me on the calendar.”
And so it went, right down to last-place Casey Stoner (how sad is that!). It’s pretty safe to say that everyone is looking forward to getting to Mugello in Italy on June 1.