Posts Tagged ‘Assen’

MotoGP 2015 Assen Preview

June 23, 2015

Team Yamaha at a pivot point in the 2015 chase.  By Bruce Allen.  Exclusive to Motorcycle.com.led-zeppelin-1-front-588171

As the 2015 MotoGP season approaches the halfway mark, the factory Yamaha team of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, the Bruise Brothers in Blue, have had things pretty much their own way. Between them, they’ve won six of the seven races to date. Double defending world champion Marc Marquez and his Honda RC213V have appeared, in the words of Led Zeppelin, dazed and confused. The annual visit to the Cathedral, the Motul TT Assen, could interrupt several recent trends.

Despite having camped out on the podium all season, Dr. Rossi has watched his lead over his Spanish teammate shrink from 29 points on the road to Jerez to a single point, as Lorenzo has hogged the top step of the rostrum for the last four rounds. Momentum is clearly in the Spaniard’s favor. But Assen, with its unpredictable (read: damp and cold) weather and stop-and-go traffic, has been a Rossi fave over the years—six premier class wins—while Lorenzo has only managed a single win here since 2008, during his first championship season in 2010. Since then, the Dutch TT has been a train wreck for #99, as follows:

• 2011—Marco Simoncelli, the #1 rider on the Gresini Honda team, got over-excited on cold tires and knocked Lorenzo into the weeds on Lap 1, from whence he pedaled his posterior off to salvage a 6th place finish.
• 2012—Alvaro Bautista, the #1 rider on the Gresini Honda team, got over-excited on cold tires and knocked Lorenzo into the weeds on Lap 1, this time putting Jorge down for the count. His 25 point lead heading into Holland evaporated in an instant, and he left tied with Casey Stoner for the series lead. Though he would eventually take the 2012 title, the Lorenzos and the Bautistas would not exchange Christmas cards that year or ever again.
• 2013—Lorenzo’s now deep-seated aversion to racing in the rain was born here, as he crashed hard in practice on Thursday and raced on Saturday with a fractured collarbone. His gritty 5th place finish that day presaged further disaster two weeks later at the Sachsenring, when another dramatic highside destroyed any possibility of a repeat championship in 2013, opening the door for Marc Marquez and the start of a new racing legend.
• 2014—a flag-to-flag affair, the bane of all moto pilots, resulted in Lorenzo limping home in 13th place, gave young Marquez his eighth win in succession, and left Lorenzo 119 points out of the lead with 10 rounds left. Though he would rally mightily later in the season, actually winning the second half, it must be said that racing in the rain, especially at Assen, has become a thing for Jorge Lorenzo.

Meanwhile, The Doctor is Cool, Calm and Collected

RossiValentino Rossi, the ageless veteran, has things just about where he wants them at this point. He can afford to praise the ascendant Lorenzo, his teammate, while keeping his powder dry for what is a long, twisty season. He can be generous in his remarks toward the suffering Marquez, playing the role of the eminence grise, fully aware that Marquez will likely succeed him as the king of the sport, but not this year. And he can applaud the efforts of Ducati Corse and its two current heroes, the dueling Andreas, Dovizioso and Iannone. Nationalism runs a close second to Catholicism in Italy, where Rossi is a venerated icon.

In short, Rossi has positioned himself as a father figure to the rest of the top six riders on the grid, including Bradley Smith, who is making a name for himself on the Tech 3 Yamaha. And just in case the young guns start getting cocky, Rossi, more than any other rider on the grid, instills fear and despair when, after his usual mediocre start, he suddenly appears on pit boards—Rossi +1.4—and begins charging back to the front. He may be old, but he is still very dangerous on race day. He does not beat himself, and if you want to beat him, you need to run a perfect race.

How cool must it be to be Valentino Rossi?

The Trial Continues for Marc Marquez

As cool as it is to be Vale these days, it must be a pain being Marc Marquez in 2015. The lily has been rudely un-gildedmarquez_crash this season, to the extent that he is flirting with his 2014 chassis in an effort to re-discover the magic of the past two years. The racing press has been hounding him since Austin, the almost invincible air of the past year and a half having left the balloon. That he would not win the title in 2015 might have been anticipated, especially after the second half that Lorenzo turned in last year. But to fall so far so quickly has taken everyone, undoubtedly including Marquez himself, by surprise.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the margin between glory and gravel in this sport is very thin. A good time for my annual apology to the back third of the grid, upon whom I tend to heap abuse, despite the fact that they lap only a couple of seconds slower than the Aliens. Marquez, at the ripe old age of 22, is giving an object lesson in one of my favorite expressions of all time:

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

The engineers at Honda will get the RC213V straightened out before too long, although doing so might not precede the RC214V. Marquez will learn from this year, the particularly acute lessons having been delivered in Argentina, Mugello and Catalunya. His “win or bin” mentality is being hammered, right before our eyes, into a “discretion is the better part of valor” approach, one in which 20 or 16 points are seen as far superior to zero.

The venerable Nick Harris, who has been calling MotoGP races since the earth cooled, rarely mentions points in his broadcasts without inserting the adjective “precious”, an attitude I believe Marquez discounted until this season. With a more stable bike beneath him, and a more mature attitude toward the competition itself, Marquez is bound to win a great many more titles before he hangs up his leathers.

This and That

Having apologized to the have-nots of the MotoGP grid, I must admit that my favorite news clip since Catalunya featured Marco Melandri, who, fronting for the Gresini Aprilia fiasco, is 0-for-2015. He disclosed in an interview this week that he is “optimistic” following the installation of a new swingarm on his RS-GP. I suppose that reducing the likelihood of getting lapped in a grand prix motorcycle race conforms to some notion of optimism.

Nicky Hayden, the last American standing, announced his intention of finishing as the top open class entry this year, which will necessitate doing something about Loris Baz, Jack Miller and Stefan Bradl.

Finally, the weekend forecast, which includes a good chance of rain and temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s. Unable to predict the weather, I can predict that Valentino Rossi will leave Assen still in first place for the year. I’m not sure who will win on Sunday—weird things happen in The Low Countries—but I’m fairly certain it won’t be Jorge Lorenzo. We’ll have race results right here on Saturday morning.

Magic Marquez leads pilgrimage to the Cathedral

June 23, 2014

MotoGP 2014 Assen Preview, by Bruce Allen

Repsol Honda God-child Marc Marquez leads his team and the rest of the MotoGP grid to Assen, which has been hosting Marquez at Aragonmotorcycle races in one form or another on the last Saturday in June since 1925. During this period, the race has morphed from the Dutch TT to the Dutch Grand Prix, from a road race to a closed-course tilt, and from motorized bicycles to the fastest two-wheeled racing machines on earth. Revered by fans and riders, Assen would be a fitting place for Marquez to set yet another modern day record.

Rossi 2014Recall 2002, when the MotoGP God-child was a brash 23-year old Italian named Valentino Rossi. Rossi had entered the premier class in 2000 after having won titles in both the 125cc and 250cc classes. In 2001 he would win the first of five consecutive world titles, taking 11 of the 16 races that year aboard the 500cc Honda. In 2002, a rule change brought about the beginning of the four-stroke era, to which Rossi adapted almost immediately. In 2002, during his second premier class title year, he won seven races in succession, a mark that has stood ever since.

A mark which is likely to fall this Saturday afternoon to a new Marc.

In the modern era of MotoGP, no premier class rider has ever started stronger than has Marquez in 2014, winning the first seven contests of the season. Though the first five were relatively straightforward, the last two, at Mugello and Catalunya, have been bayonets at close quarters, and the young Catalan has not blinked. Assen, which, from the air, looks like a carelessly crushed little oval, boasts some of the highest average lap speeds on the tour, according to MotoGP. Yamahas have taken three of the last four races here, despite the shortest straight on the tour.Assen

Regardless, you can take all that talk, all those facts and figures, crumple them into a little ball and toss them in the trash. Marc Marquez is probably going to figure out a way to win Saturday’s race, establish a new record, and continue his ridiculous assault on 18-for-18.

Recent History at Assen

In 2011, Ben Spies, in his first year aboard the factory Yamaha YZR-M1, was the beneficiary of a first lap crash that took teammate and defending Assen and world champion Jorge Lorenzo out of contention. The charismatic and wildly erratic Marco Simoncelli, riding a factory spec Honda for Fausto Gresini, attempted to go through Lorenzo on cold tires, with negative consequences for both riders. Lorenzo re-entered the race in 15th position and worked his way back to a sixth place finish, while Repsol Honda pilots Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso would join Spies on the podium.

The following year, Stoner, en route to his second world title, outdistanced teammate Dani Pedrosa by five seconds for the win. Running third again that day, this time on a satellite Yamaha, was Andrea Dovizioso. And again that year, Lorenzo was cut down by a Gresini Honda on Lap 1, this time by the narcissistic and spatially-clueless Alvaro Bautista. Four other riders crashed out that day, Colin Edwards retired with CRT problems, and Karel Abraham failed to start, having injured himself in practice. The 2012 race was notable for the fact that six (6) CRT bikes would finish in the points, owing to the demolition derby up front.

Last year, on a wet track, overachieving rookie Marquez chased a resurgent Valentino Rossi for a good part of the day, The Doctor prevailing for what would be his only win of the year on the factory Yamaha. Soccer hooligan Cal Crutchlow, bitterly piloting the competitive satellite Tech 3 Yamaha, finished third, cementing his credentials to become a Factory Rider for Ducati Corse and, in the process, virtually ruining his career. Defending world champion Lorenzo fractured his collarbone during FP2, flew home for surgery, qualified 12th and managed to finish fifth in one of the grittiest performances many of us have ever seen. Pedrosa would endure his own season-screwing collarbone fracture the following round in Germany, the two injured Aliens leaving the door open for Marquez’ shocking rookie championship.

Marc Marquez winning the title in 2013 was a surprise. In 2014, the surprise will be if he doesn’t win the title. Assen has been the site of a number of unexpected outcomes over the years, so another could be in the cards this week. My only advice to the Spanish youngster for Saturday: steer clear of Bautista and Redding.

Colin Edwards

An Apology to Colin Edwards

Many of you have accused me of treating Colin Edwards rather harshly in recent years, and I have come to agree. His interview elsewhere this week clearly illustrated the fact that he has paid his dues, enjoyed a great deal of success, and is as candid and honest about the sport and his place in it as anyone ever. He and Nicky Hayden seem to be kindred spirits.

Edwards’ best years were behind him when I began following MotoGP seriously in 2008. He is old school Texas through and through, brings a kind of dirt bike mentality to the sport, and likely would have enjoyed more success later in his career but for the advances in the control electronics that now dominate the grid. His performance at Silverstone in 2011, finishing third in the rain a week after breaking his own collarbone at Catalunya, was epic, both in terms of skill and stones. That it would be the last podium of his career is almost poetic.

This publication is full of shootouts, a term that brings to mind lining up a pair of thundering bikes at a streetlight, winding them up and lighting them off. Even at age 40, in that setting, with two identical machines, I would put my money on Edwards against anyone. If he had a couple of beers under his belt, I’d give odds.

Congratulations on a great career, Colin. I hope Michelin pays you wheelbarrows full of money to help them develop the next generation of MotoGP tires.

Ducati logoDucati Corse is SMOKIN’!

Perhaps you saw the announcement last week that Ducati will be leasing the Desmosedici, rather than selling it, in 2015. The subject is a bit academic, in that no one bought a single copy in 2014. (Unless they’re referring to Pramac Racing, which I think of as a Triple A factory team anyway. And why would they bother announcing a change in their relationship with Pramac to the press when they can just send an email?)

As regards 2015, I have only one question: To whom? Honda will surely beef up their production bike, in order to make amends with the likes of Aspar and Gresini. PBM Racing isn’t interested. There doesn’t appear to be a line forming of teams or riders anxious to risk life, limb and career on the Ducati. In fact, most of the current factory and Pramac riders appear willing to trade their current rides for just about anything short of an Evinrude-powered bathtub bolted to a couple of skateboards. Can the 2015 version really be a whole lot different/better than the 2014? Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Curious press release. If readers know more about this than meets the eye, please comment below.

Your Weekend Weather Forecast

It’s a shame that the Dutch Grand Prix is always run on the last Saturday in June which, in The Netherlands, is late winter. Again this year, high temps are forecast in the 60’s, with the best chance of rain on Sunday. The race goes off at 8:00 am EDT, and we’ll have results and analysis right here on Saturday afternoon.

MotoGP Assen 2013 Results

June 29, 2013

Rossi Wins, Bionic Lorenzo 5th in Dutch TT 

It was a thoroughly hectic weekend for factory Yamaha kingpin Jorge Lorenzo at the 2013 Dutch TT Assen.  Broke his collarbone in a routine highside in FP2 on Thursday afternoon, chartered a jet to Barcelona that day, had a couple hours of surgery early Friday morning, grabbed a bite to eat, flew back to Assen, slept a little on the plane, started 12th and finished 5th in the race.  Had to be helped off his bike at the end.  Ho hum. 

Another day at the office for Lorenzo.  This is a man chasing a third championship. This is a man with a pair the size of hubcaps.  Less than 36 hours after receiving a titanium plate and eight screws to hold it on, Lorenzo, The Bionic Man, in a world of pain, risks life and limb, so to speak, in order to stay within range of series leader and Repsol Honda #1 Dani Pedrosa.

So, instead of facing a barely comprehensible 32 point deficit, Lorenzo heroically manages to stay in second place, within 9 points of Pedrosa.  That Pedrosa would cooperate by having an uncharacteristically bad outing and finishing 4th was good fortune itself.  It’s still a race, albeit an uphill one for Lorenzo, for the title.  For today, the race had about the best possible outcome for Lorenzo, who is somewhat miraculously bent, not broken.

Meanwhile, Back at the Race

Largely overlooked in all this were two performances, one serene, the other sublime, almost surreal.  The first was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha ruffian Cal Crutchlow, winning the pole as a Brit for the first time in 11 years, the first satellite bike on the pole since yank Ben Spies, on the same bike, did it in Indianapolis in 2010.

Despite a poor start, and despite looking like he could crash out of a podium at any moment, as is his wont, Crutchlow went through on Pedrosa on Lap 21 to finish 3rd, a great result for the suddenly hot Englishman.  His late run at Honda rookie Marc Marquez didn’t work out, as the two bikes touched, Marquez held his line, and Crutchlow lost his.  End of story for second place.  Crutchlow richly earns his third podium of the season and does nothing to diminish his prospects for 2014.

The surreal picture of the day, of course, was that of Valentino Rossi starting 4th, going through on Stefan Bradl into 3rd place on Lap 1.  Flying, looking eerily like the Rossi of 2008, he went through easily on Marquez on Lap 5 into 2nd place.  From there, it was one more lap until he slipped past Pedrosa on Lap 6 and won, not by a mile, but going virtually unchallenged over the last 20 laps.  It was fun watching, in turn, Bradl, Pedrosa, and finally Marquez thinking, “Holy s**t.  I’ve got Valentino-frigging-Rossi on my tail, and he’s got pace.  God help me.”  I wrote Rossi off earlier in the year, before his epiphany with the brakes this past week.  Let’s see how he does in Germany and Laguna, the rest of Amen Corner, before giving him his Alien membership card back.

As good a day as it was individually for Lorenzo and Rossi and Crutchlow, it was a great day for Team Yamaha, putting three bikes in the top five and two on the podium, with Lorenzo averting disaster, living to fight again another day for the 2013 title.  And, for the record, we are wondering when the last time was that neither Pedrosa nor Lorenzo stood on the podium after a race.  We should have that answer for you within two weeks.  All I can say is Jorge Lorenzo makes me shake my head—about Ben Spies.

Elsewhere on the Grid

Repsol Honda #2 Marc Marquez finished second today after three consecutive wins here over the past three years in the junior leagues.  He also has three wins in a row at Sachsenring, so expect him to be competitive again next time out.  Pedrosa has  three consecutive premier class wins there, too, while Lorenzo has four seconds in a row, some kind of frustration record.

Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda qualified for his first premier class front row, started well, but faded to his usual 6th place finish.  Brit Bradley Smith qualified 6th on his Tech 3 Yamaha but slipped to 9th at the flag.  In between the two were Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda and Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia CRT.  Bautista was celebrating not having taken a factory Yamaha out on Lap 1 and little else.

Andrea Dovizioso finishing 10th and Nicky Hayden 11th on the factory Ducatis were the high point of a lousy weekend for the Bologna branch of Audi Corporation.  Dovizioso, presumably, is smarting from having been assessed a penalty point, a whole penalty point, along with Hector Barbera resulting from a close encounter in qualifying in which they were observed trying to pimp-slap one another.  The penalty points, new this season from your friends at Race Direction, were for “fighting like girls.”

Dovizioso, who managed to qualify a sterling 15th on his shiny factory Ducati, said he has a clear conscience about the entire incident.  If you can willingly abandon a Yamaha ride for a Ducati ride, I guess you can have a clear conscience about lots of things.  Former partner and teammate Cal Crutchlow is fighting for podiums on the satellite Yamaha, and Dovi is slapfighting with Spaniards on the way to 10th place finishes.  Spaniards who’ve already been beaten up by their girlfriends this season.  Just sayin’.

The Big Picture

Dani Pedrosa maintains his lead in the series, now leading Lorenzo by nine points.  In third sits Marquez, with 113 points, 14 behind Lorenzo.  Farther back, Rossi and Crutchlow are virtually deadlocked for fourth place, with Crutchlow at 87 and Rossi 85.  Here is the top ten after seven rounds in 2013:

Top 10 Riders after 7 rounds.

Heading to Germany, a very Honda-friendly track, Pedrosa will expect to extend his lead over Lorenzo, while Marquez, too, will be thinking career win #2.  Lorenzo, one thinks, would be delighted to finish second at the Sachsenring again this year, in his condition.  Perhaps his wingman Rossi can take up some of the slack and keep the Repsol boys at bay while the Mallorcan continues to heal.

As for Dani Pedrosa, despite an ordinary outing today, he leads the championship, perhaps at a later stage in the season than ever before.  He’s uninjured—did we mention that Marquez broke a toe and a finger in practice yesterday?—and leading the series, with some friendly circuits coming up.  It’s too early for him to begin thinking about getting conservative, about just not crashing.  But one gets the sense that, at some point, it will be time.  For the first time in his premier class career, he may find himself later this season with a trophy to protect.

Today, in the Netherlands, Team Yamaha had its day in the sun.  We’re only halfway to Valencia, but the 2013 Repsol Honda team must be feeling pretty sunny themselves.

July 1, 2012

Thanks to Motorcycle.com for the link.

Late-Braking MotoGP

Assen, The Netherlands, Saturday, June 30, 2012–Immediately following today’s race, Cal Crutchlow, who labors for the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team, had a few choice words for fellow rider Alvaro Bautista, the #1 rider on the San Carlo Honda team.  At the start of the race, Bautista launched himself from the number eight spot on the grid, going white hot into the first turn.  The resulting, entirely predictable low-side crash removed Bautista from the contest, which is fine.  The problem was that it also removed championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, he of the factory Yamaha team, who was quietly minding his own business.  Crutchlow, too, was victimized by the reckless actions of Bautista, as he slipped from fifth position to 13th, trying to avoid the chaos in front of him.

Crutchlow was still amped on adrenaline and anger shortly after the race when someone stuck a microphone in his grille and…

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Fantasy MotoGP – The Bautista Conspiracy

July 1, 2012

This telephone conversation did not take place on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:20pm GMT.  If it had, it would have been conducted in Italian.  The imaginary caller is Livio Suppo, Marketing Director of Honda Racing Corporation (HRC).  The gentleman not receiving the call is Mr. Fausto Gresini, volatile owner and team manager of the San Carlo Honda Gresini racing team.

LS: Fausto, good evening.  Livio here.”

FG (lying): “Livio, how nice to hear from you.  That was some lap your boy Casey put down this afternoon.  What did you do, shoot him full of meth during the rain break?”

LS: “Always kidding around, aren’t you Fausto?  What was Alvaro’s problem this afternoon?

FG: “Chatter, of three types.  Coming from the front tire, the rear tire, and his filthy Spanish mouth.  San Carlo is on me like a cheap suit about putting that stronzo on a podium, and all I get from him is excuses.  If only I had hired Andrea, none of this would be happening.”

LS: “I believe my superiors feel much the same way.  Bautista seems to be improving, but not very rapidly.  And although the Japanese are known for their patience, there is a limit, as we know.”

FG: “So, Livio, to what do I owe the pleasure of this late night call?  I was preparing to bring a small world of pleasure to these two rather, um, gifted blonde Dutch girls that showed up at my hotel room perhaps an hour ago.  And to myself as well.”

LS:  “Ah, yes, Fausto, and you’re welcome.  Courtesy of HRC.”

FG:  “I assume there’s a catch.”

LS: “Indeed, but a very small one, in the great scheme of things.”

FG: “Pray tell, Livio.  Tell me about this small ‘catch’.'”

LS: “You recall our agreement last year at Assen.”

FG (horrified): “Please don’t remind me.”

LS: “Perhaps you need a little reminding.”

FG: “Please, no, let’s not discuss that.  Ordering Marco to take Lorenzo out of the TT Assen was one of the worst moments of my entire career.”

LS: “I understand, Fausto.  I also understand that it was necessary, in order to ensure that Casey had an unimpeded path to the title.  You and Marco played a significant part in that.  We were and are still grateful for your help last year.”

FG: “And you promised, did you not, that our ‘arrangement’  last year at Assen was a one-time thing, never to be repeated.”

LS: “At the time, that was my understanding.”

FG (freaking out quietly): “Are you about to tell me that your understanding has, um, changed?  Because there is no way–NO WAY–I can tell Bautista to do what Marco did last year.”

LS: “Fausto, let’s not get overly dramatic.  This is, after all, just business.”

FG: “BUSINESS, MY FAT ITALIAN ASS!  You PROMISED me last year you would never ask such a thing again.”

LS: “Things are different this year, Fausto.  Casey is having trouble with the 1000cc bike, and his goddamned wife is whispering in his ear every week, begging him not to crash out and possibly leave their daughter without a father.  At this rate, Lorenzo is a shoe-in to win the title.  There is so much on the line, eh?”

FG: “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation, Livio.”

LS: “Nor can I, my friend.  But your boy Bautista is not having such a great season that a crash at Assen will make much difference.”

FG: “Jesus.  You are telling me to do this again.  I can’t believe I’m hearing these words from the Director of Marketing for HRC.  If word of this conversation ever got out, you would be ruined.”

LS: “And you, my friend, would be sleeping with the fishes.  Remember Luca Brazzi.”

FG: “But you work for the Japanese!  They don’t do business this way.”

LS: “Of course they do.  They’re just more, er, discreet in how they go about things.  I believe we understand one another, no?”

FG: “You bastard.  But consider this–Bautista starts from eighth position tomorrow.  What if he is unable to catch up to Lorenzo in time to take him out in the first turn?  He will have to be changing gears while all the other riders are braking.  It will be too obvious.”

LS: “Fausto, you give people too much credit.  Accidents like this happen all the time, and the press overlooks all but the most obvious examples.  When was the last time a rider was penalized for taking another rider out of a race?  Last year, when your boy Marco body-slammed Dani at Le Mans, no one did a thing.  Assuming Bautista can reach Lorenzo early in Lap One, there doesn’t figure to be a penalty, and Alvaro can then focus on the rest of the season.  No more late night phone calls.”

FG: “Livio, you’re a pig, and I will hate you for weeks, make that MONTHS, about this.  If I didn’t depend on you and your inscrutable Japanese bosses for my livelihood, I would come over to your apartment tonight and cut your throat.”

LS: “So, we have an agreement?”

FG: “Yes, we have an agreement.  Kindly rot in hell, and have an unpleasant evening.”

LS: “And you make sure to enjoy yourself with Heidi and Gretel, Fausto.  Good night.”

Cal Crutchlow Hating on Alvaro Bautista

June 30, 2012

Assen, The Netherlands, Saturday, June 30, 2012–Immediately following today’s race, Cal Crutchlow, who labors for the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team, had a few choice words for fellow rider Alvaro Bautista, the #1 rider on the San Carlo Honda team.  At the start of the race, Bautista launched himself from the number eight spot on the grid, going white hot into the first turn.  The resulting, entirely predictable low-side crash removed Bautista from the contest, which is fine.  The problem was that it also removed championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, he of the factory Yamaha team, who was quietly minding his own business.  Crutchlow, too, was victimized by the reckless actions of Bautista, as he slipped from fifth position to 13th, trying to avoid the chaos in front of him.

Crutchlow was still amped on adrenaline and anger shortly after the race when someone stuck a microphone in his grille and asked him what he thought about Bautista’s actions.  Working without a tape recorder, what follows is the gist of Cal’s comments:  “It’s hard, you know, when some DICKHEAD pulls a stunt like this, risking the careers and lives of everyone around him.  The %$#@& guy was still changing gears when everyone else was on the brakes.”  Suffice it to say that the Crutchlows will not be on the invitation list this year for the Bautista Christmas bash.