Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were back on the 2012 1000cc YZR-M1 at the circuit on Monday. Read what they thought here.
Ghibli was one of those helmets that you’d see ads for, but never seemed to see them on the street. The helmet was a stylistic standout when it came out around 1980. Playboy magazine featured it as a helmet for the fashion-conscious rider. You would have thought the Playboy nod would have given the helmet a big boost, but again they seemed to be very rare in terms of riders who actually wore them. If you wore a Ghibli, or are aware of any racers who wore the helmet let us know.
by Tracy Hagen
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo’s campaign to retain the MotoGP crown took a much needed turn for the better Sunday with a convincing win on his Yamaha over rivals Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner at Misano, round 13 of the 2011 championship. Lorenzo’s third victory of the year stopped Stoner’s three race win streak and cut the Australian’s points lead from 44 to 35.
Right up until the sighting lap everyone expected Stoner, starting from pole on a Honda, to run away with the race. Then spots of rain could be felt but not seen, and the speculation shifted to possibility of a wet race. Indeed, the track was declared wet before the race was a lap old. But neither Stoner or the weatherman were able to stop Lorenzo, who shot into the lead at Turn 1 and did not melt under the heat Stoner applied over the first ten laps. Then Stoner cooled off, and, on the record, cited his own physical condition rather than motorcycle set-up problems for his off-form ride. Stoner was eventually overtaken by teammate Pedrosa on lap 22 of 26 cruised home in third.
The biggest battle of the day was the race for fourth, which eventually went to Honda’s Marco Simoncelli. Fourth was initially owned by Andrea Dovisioso (Honda) who was chased by Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. Simoncelli passed Rossi at the end of the fourth lap with an aggressive but clean Rossi-esque pass on a that forced the Italian superstar to back-off to avoid contact with the Italian shooting-star. Simoncelli then passed Dovisioso on lap 7 with another clean pass. Ten laps later Simoncelli had a one second advantage on Dovisioso and looked relatively safe. But starting on lap 21 Dovisoso started to catch Simoncelli, and Yamaha’s Ben Spies was gaining ground as well. With four laps to go Simoncelli’s lead was a scant quarter-second and shrinking. Dovisioso’s first pass attempt on lap 25 failed, but the second attempt was a success. Dovisioso led for two laps, shadowed by Simoncelli and Spies. The final lap was all fireworks, with Simoncelli moving up to fourth, then back to sixth, and finally back to fourth. Brilliant.
Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista finished eighth after battling the Monster Yamaha’s of Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow. The two Yamahas slowed as the race went on, with Crutchlow getting passed by Hector Barbera (Ducati) with three laps to go. Edwards was passed by both plus Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) and Karel Abraham (Ducati) to finish a very disappointing thirteenth.
If Edwards was looking for a drinking buddy after the race, Loris Capirossi or Nicky Hayden would have made good choices. Capirossi pitted twice after getting extra media attention for announcing his retirement from motorcycle racing, while Hayden crashed out on the third lap while trying to make up for a miserable start.
Next race: Aragon, September 18
Team M4 Suzuki wrapped up a memorable 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing season on a high note on Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Dane Westby and Martin Cardenas registered stellar performances to close out their impressive respective SportBike and Superbike campaigns.
Westby vindicated his Saturday disappointment by scoring his fourth podium finish of the season on Sunday. The Oklahoman once again demonstrated a unique acumen for effortlessly dicing up to the front, once again arriving in first position after being stacked down the order earlier in the contest.
Westby took his turn at the front thanks to some creative overtaking maneuvers aboard his GSX-R600 and ultimately finished a scant 0.135 seconds off the victory with an inspired runner-up result.
Dane finished the season ranked seventh in the Daytona SportBike Championship standings with 188 points, four podiums, and a first-career SportBike triumph.
“I felt like I had the speed to win today, just like yesterday,” Westby said. “There were a couple of spots I was faster but they didn’t really count because it wasn’t across the finish line. It was a really fun race. It’s too bad it’s the end of the season — I’d really like to keep racing.”
Cardenas similarly bounced back from a tough lead-up to Sunday’s race, fighting his way up from tenth earlier to race with the lead pack in the fight for the Superbike season finale.
The determined Colombian ultimately crossed the line in fourth, just over two seconds removed from the win after struggling to find the pace all weekend long.
Cardenas finished his rookie Superbike campaign ranked fourth with 231 points, three podiums, and a first-career premier class victory.
Sunday was less kind to Chris Ulrich and Santiago Villa. Ulrich was a Sunday scratch after his mending injuries made it too difficult to compete while Villa crashed out of the SportBike race, bringing out a red flag.
The tough racers wound up 18th and 14th in their respective championship races following injury-marred campaigns.
Altogether M4 Suzuki racked up seven podiums and two victories during one of the most exciting seasons of AMA Pro Road Racing in recent memory
Millville, NJ (Sept 4, 2011) — Huntley Nash earned the top ten for LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha in Daytona SportBike at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday. The hard-charging Nash ended the year with tenth place in a tough contest. Nash wasn’t entirely comfortable with his setup but managed a scrappy performance to end the season on a high note.
“We were a little lucky and I was hoping for a better pace, but it was good to finish the year with a top ten,” said Nash, who stepped up to DSB after winning three SuperSport races in 2010.
Raul Alzate was pleased with his race. The Colombian finished 12th in his first trip to NJMP. “I was really focused on the race and had a lot of fun. I tried to pass as many people as I could in the early laps,” said Alzate. “ Then I was trying to keep up with the pack, maintain my position and do some good laps. My goal was to finish the race and 12th is a good result. I’ll go home happy and can’t wait for next year.”
LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha’s SuperSport campaign resulted in the West division championship but ended with a disappointing race for two-time winner David Gaviria and Daytona race winner Tomas Puerta in the New Jersey season finale. Puerta and Gaviria were charging in the race on lap three when Puerta’s engine blew. Unfortunately, Gaviria collided with his teammate in the aftermath.
“Unfortunately, the engine went,” said Puerta. “I tried to warn the others but I had to turn the bike.”
“I didn’t even have time to brake,” said Gaviria, who suffered an arm contusion. “It was a tough ending to a great year for us.”
Team owner Melvin Nash said, “I’m happy with our season and I wouldn’t trade our riders and crew for anyone in the paddock. A special thanks goes out to the entire team, as well as to Yamaha and all of our sponsors. We’re already looking forward to next season.”