Marco Simoncelli's Greatest Crime: Impatience

Marco Simoncelli is probably the most exciting rider in MotoGP at the moment. Obviously, his physical presence - tall, lanky, with an enormous and tangled bush of hair atop his head - helps him stand out from the crowd, but it is his riding which has endeared him to the fans. The boy is fast, utterly fearless and willing to fight for every inch of the track. Simoncelli stands aside for no man, which means that at any time, at any track, he can pull the most astonishing moves to try and either defend his position or snatch a place from out of the blue. The fans love it.

The riders, not so much. That impetuousness, seizing the first hint of a gap as soon as it opens, and opening it by force if necessary, has not made him very popular with the remainder of the MotoGP field. Simoncelli, they say, is a wildcard, a rider who is so unpredictable that they don't feel comfortable racing in close proximity with him. The kind of fairing-bashing action that leaves tire marks all over leathers may make Simoncelli a favorite with the fans, but having to deal with it at 300 km/h while manhandling a MotoGP bike around is not an enjoyable experience.

So it is hardly a surprise that opinion is so bitterly divided on Simoncelli's pass on Dani Pedrosa, and the ride-through penalty he subsequently received. The clash, in which Pedrosa crashed and broke his right collarbone so shortly after his left had healed, is either a hard-but-fair pass which Pedrosa could have avoided and not worthy of a penalty, or a dangerous pass in which Simoncelli cut off Pedrosa's nose, hitting his front wheel and leaving the Spaniard with nowhere to go, meaning a crash was inevitable, depending on your point of view. The camps divide broadly along clear lines: On the side of Simoncelli are the US and UK fans, a significant part of the English-speaking media, the more belligerent part of the Italian media (which is most of them), a number of key veteran racers such as Kevin Schwantz and Darryl Beattie, and a large number of current and former World Superbike and BSB racers. On the side of Pedrosa are almost all of the current MotoGP riders, the Spanish media (as belligerent as the Italians), the Spanish fans and a number of key veteran racers such as Wayne Rainey and Wayne Gardner. 

To my eyes - and I have studied the footage as carefully as I can, viewing all the videos and photos that are publicly available, and which most of you will have probably seen just as often - the blame lies with Simoncelli, as Simoncelli cut Pedrosa off and left him no room. On the onboard shot looking backwards from Simoncelli's bike (shown on this MotoGP.com Youtube clip from 2:53 to 2:57), you can see Simoncelli clip Pedrosa's front wheel with his knee, which caused Pedrosa to stand his bike up and clip Simoncelli's back wheel, which then precipitated the crash. Simoncelli's defense that he left Pedrosa enough room is true, but only in the narrow, theoretical sense. If Pedrosa had known Simoncelli would make that move, there was just enough room for a single bike to be slotted between Simoncelli and the inside kerb, though that would have required bumping Simoncelli and his knee out of the way. So to me, it seems clear that Simoncelli is to blame for the incident, though with both sides of the argument so deeply entrenched, I don't expect anyone to be convinced of the merits of my case any time soon (and if you're commenting below, frankly, you can save your energy trying to convince me).

The penalty, though, is a different matter, and I'm not convinced that a ride through should have been awarded for the pass on its own. That pass was, to quote Simoncelli's friend Valentino Rossi, a little bit too aggressive, and definitely the result of poor judgment. But what makes this more than just a slightly overly aggressive pass and turns it into a crime worth punishing is not the maneuver, but the fact that it was totally unnecessary at that point in the race. For the four laps prior to that passing attempt, Simoncelli had been catching Pedrosa by between two- and four-tenths of a second, and clearly had the measure of the Spaniard. After two DNFs, Simoncelli was well on his way to his first MotoGP podium, a reward he richly deserves judged solely on his speed on a MotoGP machine. Simoncelli had just demonstrated his superior pace with a clean and convincing pass on Pedrosa at the previous corner, the double right of Garage Vert. The Italian may have lost a position again down the short back straight - losing out to the superior acceleration of the lighter Pedrosa - but that situation was never going to last long. Simoncelli - using the advantage his greater weight and height confer - caught Pedrosa on the brakes, and got half a length ahead of the Spaniard going into the Chemin aux Boeufs esses, before slamming across his nose and clipping his front wheel.

Is it possible to pass at Chemin aux Boeufs? It certainly is, indeed, it is one of the favorite passing spots at the Le Mans circuit. Can you pass using the outside line going into Chemin aux Boeufs left hander? You certainly can, if you leave enough room on the inside before flicking back and holding the stronger line for the right.

Should you pass at Chemin aux Boeufs? If you clearly have the superior pace, there are plenty of better places to make a pass: the double right at the final corner; the Dunlop Curve and chicane, or any of the three extra-large hairpins which comprise La Chapelle, Musee and Garage Vert.  If you hold the inside line at Chemin aux Boeufs, it is possible to get by, even put a classic block pass - in which you get well past in the first part of the esses, before slamming the door on the second part - to secure the place.

But Simoncelli chose to do none of these. The Italian pulled an at-best marginal move resulting in the crash - and injury - of another rider.

It gets worse. Simoncelli chose to pull a sketchy move on another rider after suffering two DNFs which were entirely his own fault. Those two DNFs were both classic rookie mistakes - a status Simoncelli left behind him last year - pushing too hard in tricky conditions while leading at Jerez, then pushing too hard on cold tires on the first lap of the race at Estoril. Simoncelli's aim, he said in the pre-race press release, was merely to finish in the points at Le Mans. Viewed purely from the point of view of the results sheet, Simoncelli achieved his stated goal, but I don't think anyone - including Simoncelli - view his result that way. Instead, after his two unforced errors, he has blotted his copybook for a third time in a row by incurring a penalty.

And it gets worse still. In his hurry to get to the front, he took out not just another rider, but a fellow employee of HRC, and Simoncelli's theoretical teammate (though Simoncelli is housed in the San Carlo Gresini squad, rather than Repsol Honda where Pedrosa resides, the two men are factory Honda riders, and paid by the Japanese giant). The old adage may say that the first rule of racing is that you have to beat your teammate, teams - or in this case, factories - tend to look very dimly upon riders who beat their teammates by forcing them to crash and injure themselves.

Worst of all, though, is that not only did Simoncelli cause Pedrosa to crash, by doing so, he robbed Pedrosa of the potential championship lead. Had Simoncelli bided his time - for all of, say, 50 seconds - he could have passed Pedrosa, dropping the Spaniard into 3rd. That would have meant Pedrosa scoring 16 points, bringing his points total to 76. Jorge Lorenzo, instead of finishing 4th, would have been dropped down to 6th, scoring just 10 points and bringing his total to 75. Instead of a lead of 12 points over second place man Casey Stoner - another Honda rider - Lorenzo and Yamaha would have been looking at a deficit of 1 point, and standing 2nd to Pedrosa.

Late on Sunday night, Marco Simoncelli was marched to the Honda Racing Corporation truck, where no doubt he was given a lesson in elementary arithmetic, in all likelihood using the World Championship standings as an example. The point was almost certainly made that although HRC held Simoncelli's riding ability in high esteem, they were less than impressed by his racecraft and his judgment.

And this, surely, is the point. Only an idiot would deny that Simoncelli is fast, and has the pace to match the front runners. Only a blind man would deny that Simoncelli is exciting to watch, and greatly enhances the spectacle. But only a fool would suggest that Simoncelli's judgment is beyond question, and that there is no room for improvement in his decision-making process.

There's a lot of talk on online forums about Simoncelli's chance to become the 5th Alien, joining Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner in the current pantheon of MotoGP. But though Simoncelli has many of the key ingredients, he has so far shown he is missing perhaps the most vital, the intelligence to evaluate risk in an instant, and choose the right course of action to ensure success. Out of four races in 2011, Simoncelli has just 22 points, dropping at least 34 points (25 at Jerez and 9 at Le Mans) and probably more through stupid decisions, losing a chance to be in the top three of the championship and a legitimate shot at the title. Instead, he is mid-pack, 14 points behind his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama, and only just ahead of Colin Edwards.

In many ways, Simoncelli is like the ancient Viking warrior known as the beserker. In a fit of blind fury, with the red mist descending, the beserker charges forward, destroying everything in his path, fearing no enemy, with the strength of twenty men. But as rival bands knew, the way to deal with a beserker was to use his rage against him, waiting until his strength ran out and then striking him down in cold blood from behind. Berserkers, though greatly feared, never made the role of chieftain, as they rarely ever lived long enough.

They say you can teach a fast rider to stop crashing, but you cannot teach a slow rider to be fast. What that old racing maxim means is that being fast is a question of talent, and that results will come once a talented rider learns to make good decisions. Simoncelli is undoubtedly a fast rider, he needs to start learning to make better decisions if he is to progress to the next level. Jorge Lorenzo, Simoncelli's contemporary, had a reputation as a wild man and crasher, but a couple of huge accidents soon taught the Spaniard sense. Without those crashes, Lorenzo would not have understood his limitations, and would not have taken the World Championship last year.

Like Lorenzo before him, Simoncelli needs to learn those same lessons, though preferably through reflection rather than injury. Lorenzo's aggression is still there, lurking below the surface - the Yamaha man's move on Andrea Dovizioso in the early laps was questionable - but he has learned to channel it and let it out only when necessary. Simoncelli's aggression remains untamed, the Italian flailing around wildly at every opportunity.

The question for Simoncelli is whether he can learn those lessons, and become a serious candidate for the championship. So far, he has shown either a stubborn refusal or an intellectual inability to learn. If Simoncelli is merely refusing to learn the lessons, then the occasional penalty and a stiff talking to by HRC may help turn him around. But if he simply lacks the intelligence to understand the subtleties of racing, then Sideshow Bob will remain the Sideshow, and never become the Main Attraction.

Marco Simoncelli is probably the most exciting rider in MotoGP at the moment. Obviously, his physical presence - tall, lanky, with an enormous and tangled bush of hair atop his head - helps him stand out from the crowd, but it is his riding which has endeared him to the fans. The boy is fast, utterly fearless and willing to fight for every inch of the track. Simoncelli stands aside for no man, which means that at any time, at any track, he can pull the most astonishing moves to try and either defend his position or snatch a place from out of the blue. The fans love it. The riders, not so much. That impetuousness, seizing the first hint of a gap as soon as it opens, and opening it by force if necessary, has not made him very popular with the remainder of the MotoGP field. Simoncelli, they say, is a wildcard, a rider who is so unpredictable that they don't feel comfortable racing in close proximity with him. The kind of fairing-bashing action that leaves tire marks all over leathers may make Simoncelli a favorite with the fans, but having to deal with it at 300 km/h while manhandling a MotoGP bike around is not an enjoyable experience.

Comments

What?

How dare you introduce nuance into what has been a perfectly good shouting fest?

If Marco backs off the stupid moves just a little bit, he'll be scary. In a good way, that is.

Total votes: 82

Pretty well sums it up...

Echoes my own thoughts having followed Marco closely these past two years and speaking to him at virtually every race. I have made essentially the same comment in our own report on Le Mans (written today, on web Monday!) and I think elsewhere in this forum.

I would add that I would not underestimate Marco's focus: he puts his head down and learns. He has been focussing the past season and a bit on steady incremental improvements to his physical riding skill on the MotoGP Honda. Clearly he has succeeded in this. If he applies the same tenacity to his racecraft/intellectual development, we will be seeing the next Rossi. I can't wait to hear what Antonio (Gresini Chief Mechanic, our guest speaker) has to say about him in Catalunya...

It's guys like Marco that make me love this sport.

Total votes: 83

Ed Zachary!!!

Two thumbs up!!!! Perfectly expressed.

In his rush to become the fifth alien he may just become the first alienate.

Total votes: 81

Simoncelli

Points well argued. Simoncelli has this significant pressure on him from many quarters right now and it too will contribute to his learning experience if he can take it. The signs are he can.
The sport will always benefit from exceptional individuals like Simoncelli who demonstrate to a wider audience the spectacle that is motorcycle racing while also highlighting the intense rivalries.

Total votes: 80

Perhaps

a bit more than a few penalties and a dressing down from HRC brass are needed. Some riders just never ever learn to calm their impetuosity or plain dumb decision processes. Max Biaggi is a good case in point. Personally I do hope he fits all the pieces together as clinically executed hard but fair passes will really get under his rivals skin!

I do feel sorry for Danni though - the crash may have been unavoidable (for him) but he seems to suffer from the racers equivalent of a glass jaw. Get well soon.

Total votes: 83

Sorry Dave, I am left

Sorry Dave, I am left unconvinced by your argument. However, please do keep trying.

Total votes: 88

Same Here

I can't believe that there's any argument at all about Pedrosa running into the back of Simoncelli, which is what the video clearly shows. Even the onboard where Sic appears to swoop across the front of Ped - you can see the ripple strip on the left very quickly disappear (Pedrosa is riding away from the ripple strip... into Simoncelli).

Anyway it looks like everyone is convinced one way or another.

What I am really interested to see is what Race Direction has said about it - if anything?

Total votes: 82

does it matter? david's

does it matter? david's point: simoncelli's impatience - is still valid. he could have let pedrosa through there and then taken him later.

i hope you guys read past the point of contact which is actually of minor concern...

Total votes: 78

Yeah, really. Let's talk

Yeah, really. Let's talk about what Pedrosa could have done given he was the one in the title fight and was still getting over a previous injury. Letting Simoncelli by and taking 3rd place without injury looks like a pretty good choice right up to the point where he stood the bike up and ran into the back of Simoncelli.

Total votes: 76

Exactly - look at Pedrosa

You can say that Sic should have been more patient and made the pass at a more opportune time, but you could also wonder what business Pedrosa had trying to outbrake SuperSic after he had breezed by at the previous corner, visibly faster than Ped. The whole situation looks even more dubious when you consider the telemetry from Simoncelli's bike - it shows he braked at the same point as previous laps. Therefore you can compare to where Pedrosa started to brake (bit early by the looks of it...) and combined by the fact that Pedrosa was struggling to get stopped and turn in (rear wheel off the ground, left leg hanging off the bike) it's almost obvious what the outcome would be... Ped is not going to make his intended line, he runs wide - right into SuperSic and marks up his nice leathers with his front tyre!!

It was mentioned on another comment that maybe some people, perhaps Puig, had been in his ear about responding faster to a challenge/pass, and more aggressively (this is certainly one area where Ped has been criticised in the past). On this occasion it would seem that Pedrosa stepped up to that plate, and lost out in a big way.

Others will eventually learn that SuperSic is not one to back down from a fight. Maybe it is that young Daniel son needs to take a lesson from that incident as well.

Not that I have ever said that Sic can't improve in his strategy, but as I have said all along - I can't accept that Pedrosa was 100% in the clear - because as we all know, it takes two to tango.

Total votes: 80

CRAZY TALK...

guys, you're talking crazy...?! since when in the history of roadracing does a rider automatically give up a podium spot when they've been passed just 1X...? in general, it doesn't happen. yet, that's what you guys are expecting...? really...? only a few laps earlier dani had just cut IDENTICAL lap times to both marco AND point man stoner. whether his shoulder or arm was giving him problems is unclear...? but what WAS clear was his 212 (as it blitzed by) was firing on all cylinders (pun intended). at a minimum, he had business to team repsol to block stoner from simo's forward progression. simo may have HRC support (or had?), but make no mistake dani's obligation is to repsol not marco or team gresini.

Total votes: 81

You realise that works both ways?

You can apply those comments to either Ped or Sic...

So why should Pedrosa give up a podium spot? Well why should Simoncelli be the one to give up a podium spot either? And this is why my above comments stand. All these points talking about "patience" and "strategy" can also apply to Pedrosa. It's like everyone is expecting Sic to yield because he is the junior. Pedrosa knows what sort of rider Simoncelli is, and he saw him breeze by at the previous corner. Pedrosa had it all to lose. And he did lose.

Total votes: 73

no it doesn't work both ways

Pedrosa was going backwards, so he hadn't the luxury of patience. He was in the position to defend his place. He couldn't just wait patiently to be overtaken and later start defending when Sic was already past him.

Total votes: 73

Pedrosa had chosen to pass

Yes - but you're forgetting that they were already in a battle - Sic passed at the previous corner and Pedrosa had chosen to try and pass on the straight. Everyone seems to be viewing the whole incident in the one corner where Pedrosa crashed, but it started long before that.

Total votes: 86

re: "Well why should

re: "Well why should Simoncelli be the one to give up a podium spot either?"

ummn, who's saying he should...? what we said is he should pass when safe. you know, same as any other rider.

re: " It's like everyone is expecting Sic to yield because he is the junior."

no, we're expecting simo to yield as safe racing protocol dictates because dani was in front and on the inside for ALL 3 BRAKE MARKERS.

Total votes: 82

In front on the straight - but missed his line into the corner

Okay fair point - but Sic knew he was faster and ended up trying to go around the outside. You can call it bad strategy, but like someone else commented - making decisions in a split second at those speeds comes down to instinct more than any particular thought process or 'plan'. But it shouldn't have been a problem... Until Pedrosa messed up his entry (the part that everyone seems to conveniently forget - the rear wheel hanging in the air, left leg flailing off the bike and Ped struggling to turn.)

Total votes: 78

Messing corner entry

I cannot say he was missing his line just based on your points. Leg flailing off the bike while braking has been standard procedure for Pedrosa for a long time. Rear wheel in the air has been also standard for any Honda under braking for a couple of years. If you can, have a look at Jerez '10 QP. You will see Pedrosa with the rear in the air almost every time he was entering Turn 1, IIRC. And still, he took the pole position. Didn´t look like he was messing up corner entry at the time.

Total votes: 78

Why am I not conflicted?

I am from the U.S. and am firmly in the latter camp (those who side with Pedrosa).  I guess I just like factual evidence.

I would tend to argue one rather substantial exception to this bit:

"Simoncelli stands aside for no man, which means that at any time, at any track, he can pull the most astonishing moves to try and either defend his position or snatch a place from out of the blue."

That exception being Valentino Rossi. 

Someone needs to tell him (Marco), "Treat every rider (on the track) as you would Vale.  When you have proved you can do this, you will learn the next step."

Total votes: 88

So did the HRC brass march

So did the HRC brass march Pedrosa into the trailer to dress him down when he took out Hayden in a REAL fight for the championship - not simply 4 races in? I certainly don't remember that being done, but I may have missed it. No reason for Simoncelli to get dressed down if Pedrosa didn't. All old news, sure, but it shows HRC's backwards priorities and outright favoritism. After all, most everything David said in his article could have been said about Pedrosa in 2006. So realistically my sympathy for Pedrosa is limited; you reap what you sow.

As well written as your article is, David, I don't agree with you, and ironically I came to the exact opposite conclusion after repeatedly watching it after initially siding with Pedrosa.

Total votes: 88

Estoril 2006

After Estoril 2006, Pedrosa was also sat down by HRC and had explained to him in no uncertain terms what was expected of him. Before Valencia, Pedrosa expressed his contrition, and said he would do anything he could to help Hayden win the title. He even had Pedrosa's tail for about half a lap or so at Valencia, trying to block, though with very limited success.

Pedrosa got the message.

Total votes: 91

YES TO THE DRESS

RE: "So did the HRC brass march Pedrosa into the trailer to dress him down when he took out Hayden in a REAL fight for the championship - not simply 4 races in? I certainly don't remember that being done, but I may have missed it."

yup, dani was "dressed" in like manner...

Total votes: 81

Simo has certainly made some

Simo has certainly made some bad racing decisions, but his perhaps fatal flaw is his inability to learn from his mistakes. It's called wisdom. You need it on the track as well as in life, and if he doesn't learn these lessons now he'll never become another of the aliens- he'll just be fast and crash. Right now hes defending his move on Pedrosa. Hopefully that's just a kneekerk reaction. But the only way he's gonna get any better is if he admits to himself that it was a bad move, then learn from it. He doesnt have to sacrifice his agression-it's his best quality- just temper it with a little discretion.

Total votes: 82

I like to laugh

But Simo is getting a raw deal here. And I know you think not K.

You know the old adage, or maybe it is a new one, "you don't have the balls to do what I do, you call me crazy." If Simo is comfortable in his skin, they can all shove off. When I see him do something over the top, I'll opine. If the others want to challenge him to a duel, he has a right to play to win. That is what Dani did and he paid the price. People are trying to take a sentence from one Act and decipher the whole Play from it.

Dani knew when Marco blew by him what was on his mind. He should have done the intelligent thing and let him go. Dani charged in there over his head; Marco was in control and stayed on his bike. (Even after being hit late apex.)

For whomever the bloke was above, that is factual.

These riders, unless they are morons, study each others tendencies like any other professional athlete studies their competition. You don't have to watch too many film clips to realize how late Marco is willing to brake to maintain his corner speeds. It is the only chance he has to compete against a flyweight like Pedrosa. Dani knew what he was going to do and thought he could beat him to the hole. As you and he now know, he could not. What was it Stoner said about Rossi.......

Marco's impetuousness is endearing him to many fans, I'd say the other riders better stiffen up the upper lip. If not, the tide may turn on them. The kid is just plain fun to watch!

PS

For the conspiracy lovers, who is to say that he was not invited to HRC for some shoulder pats? "That was beautiful Marco, you are going to make Alberto's head explode. We have been trying to figure him out of the equation for years." "Now, here is what we want you to do next.........."

Total votes: 95

Tunnel Vision

I have watched Simo for a while and maybe have a different assessment of his situation. I think that in the heat of the moment he gets a form of tunnel vision and doesn't really see the other riders. So his actions are at least partly the result of a physical limitation, not completely a mental one. It may be very difficult to "learn" his way around this problem.

Total votes: 75

that's a new view from marcos bike

I didn't see the on board footage from Marco's bike before. I wondered why Pedrosa stood up early and thought he was spooked but having your front tire hit by another rider is a good reason to have your bike act unpredictably. It's a great example of how well countersteering works, although unintentionally. Also it shows that Marco didn't take Pedrosa's line or come across his front and close the door as everyone says, the issue was Marco's leg hitting Pedrosa's wheel while they were next to one another on different lines.

Before I saw that footage I thought Pedrosa had a brain fart and stood it up but now see that Marco did directly cause the accident. Was a penalty right? I don't know but it was the stewards call and as along as they are consistent (no guarantee of that) I won't complain. On the other hand Rossi did directly cause Stoner to fall but there was no penalty. I'd say that trying to pass on the inside on a damp track is just about as dangerous as passing on the outside on the first turn of a chicane. If you fall because of questionable traction you're just going to collect the rider you are trying to pass, which is just what happened. Rossi's BS line of 'I wasn't even trying to pass Stoner there' is just that, BS. From his line and lean angle as he lost it Rossi was trying to make the corner. Will we ever get consistent rule application? Who knows?

So I agree on your placement of blame. On the topic of impatience I don't agree. This is a race. Nobody wants to wait behind someone if they can be passed earlier. I think the fire in Marco's belly to win shows in his desire to pass everyone as soon as possible wherever he can and should not be dampened down. Marco wanted to pass Pedrosa and catch Stoner, its that simple. He wanted to win. He was much faster than Pedrosa and Pedrosa knew it from seeing his gap shrink every lap on his pit board. Pedrosa is as much as fault for trying to race a noticeably faster rider as Marco was for trying to pass a slower rider ASAP. To me, asking why Marco couldn't wait to pass Pedrosa is the same as asking why Pedrosa felt he had to race a faster rider. The answer is that they were racing and they both wanted the position. End of story. Don't mellow out Marco, just learn to pull those passes off.

This does bring to mind Dani's recent comments about Marco pre-crash which were basically 'other riders have had problems with Marco but I don't.'

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 85

Sic's Leg

I agree completely Chris.

After watching Marco's onboard camera over and over again you can clearly see the jolt down Sic's leg as he makes contact with Dani's front wheel. This then gives Dani a wobble, then he stands it up and the rest is history.

I just find it unfortunate that Marco refuses to accept any blame for the crash, shrugging his way to innocence after one glance at the replay.

Hopefully Pedrosa can come back quickly and make a run for the championship.. but I don't like his chances.

Total votes: 76

DANI IS THE CONVERTED

so much for pre-crash opinions. dani now has a "bone" to pick with simo's riding. figuratively and literally.

Total votes: 77

Sickened

David,

I would like to see a potential part two of your (consistently excellent) opinion on the incident, regarding Danny's race-craft... as so many others have been pointing out:
1) Yes, Marco is a wild child and is on his way to greatness (hopefully)
2) Pedrosa suddenly discovers that he can go man-to-man against another racer? Against Marco? After losing out half a second on the first split of the lap of the incident?
3) Ridiculous (and hasty) penalty ... Makes you wonder how much sway HRC actually have over Race direction, hmm? I can just picture Alberto screaming murder at Paul Butler (what about his hissy fit of Danny's championship destroyed? Anyone remember his comments on the Hayden incident in Estoril '06? This man is more dangerous to the sport than any racer on the track)

Total votes: 85

For once, I-m pretty close to 100% agreement with you

Now I just hope Marco will read your last paragraph, and wake up. Otherwise I don't really care if he has to crash and hurt himself to learn, just hope he crashes alone and don't hurt anyone else in the process.

"The question for Simoncelli is whether he can learn those lessons, and become a serious candidate for the championship. So far, he has shown either a stubborn refusal or an intellectual inability to learn. If Simoncelli is merely refusing to learn the lessons, then the occasional penalty and a stiff talking to by HRC may help turn him around. But if he simply lacks the intelligence to understand the subtleties of racing, then Sideshow Bob will remain the Sideshow, and never become the Main Attraction."

Total votes: 92

An allegory

I should really have illustrated my point with an old joke:

An old bull and a young bull are standing up on a hillside, looking down over a herd of cows. The young bull turns to the old bull and says "Hey! Why don't we run down the hill and go f*** one of those cows?" The old bull turns to the young bull and replies "No son, why don't we walk down the hill and f*** all of them..."

Simoncelli is the young bull...

Total votes: 78

What about Danny?

I´m curious to know what exactly is your opinion of Danny racecraft that day.
Simnocelli wasn't going faster, Danny was going slower (a very important point IMO). If the inevitability of the pass was evident to Simoncelli it should have been evident to Danny, yet he pass Simoncelli (a reputed dangerous rider) in the previous corner and try to outbreak him on a left-hand turn with a left-hand injury still bothering him. And of course Danny is the old bull here.

My opinion is that it was a racing incident with nobody to blame. But if you feel so strongly about Marco´s choice what about Danny´s?

Total votes: 79

Dani defended

To me, Pedrosa did nothing wrong. He passed Simoncelli cleanly down the back straight, was ahead and holding the line when Simoncelli came across his nose. Pedrosa was defending, Simoncelli attacking, and it is the duty of the attacker to do so safely. He can be as aggressive as he likes, just as long as he is safe.

Pedrosa's situation was very like Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at Laguna Seca '08. Rossi had the slower bike, and so needed a strategy to prevent Stoner from getting away. That strategy was to get in front of Stoner and defend. Pedrosa got back ahead of Simoncelli easily and was defending going into the corner, but Simoncelli knocked him off.

Was this a wise choice? Simoncelli was clearly faster than Pedrosa, so you might say that Pedrosa had no business trying to get in Simoncelli's way. But that same argument would apply to Valentino Rossi at Laguna Seca in 2008.

Total votes: 87

Precisely

So we both agree that it wasn't crystal clear that if Simoncelli didn't pass there than he would pass in the very next corner losing no time to the lead or that he would even pass at all. At least no so clear for them (or to Rossi in 2008).

I think neither one of them did anything wrong, of course I will accept that my opinion is heavily influence by the fact that I think the accident wasn't Simoncelli fault.

Total votes: 81

disagree

David, I respectfully disagree: "He passed Simoncelli cleanly down the back straight" ALL of the footage I've seen shows Pedrosa getting his rear wheel even with Simoncelli's front, at best. That is not what I would call "passed." If he had, why would he have not pulled over to the preferred line on the outside in front of Simoncelli?

And in the next phrase you totally contradict yourself "...was ahead and holding the line when Simoncelli came across his nose." How on earth is it possible to both be "ahead" AND have someone cut "across his nose". It's not.

Remember this similar situation?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO5z_aWdhEY

Watch at about the 15 sec mark. Here, Lorenzo is no more past than Pedrosa was (in other words, not past but in the process of passING) and Lorenzo at least TRIED to get to the preferred line. And, unlike Pedrosa, Lorenzo had the sense to realize he was outbraked and not stubbornly try to hold an impossible line, by easing off the brakes then trying to reel it in at the last moment.

Total votes: 79

It is not.

"How on earth is it possible to both be "ahead" AND have someone cut "across his nose". It's not." You are right, that is not possible. That is why S caused P to crash.

Total votes: 72

magic

So, somehow Simoncelli was BEHIND Pedrosa while simultaneously being in FRONT of him enough to "cut across his nose"

Wow! That Simoncelli really IS talented.

Total votes: 85

It's the same physics

That allows someone coming from the left to make someone stand the bike up to the right.

Rossi was faster in 2008 at Laguna Seca. Look at the results: who won? Isn't that the same guy who posts the fastest time over the race distance? Is that how racing works? 

When Dani has "passed" Simo, it is incorrect for Simo to pass him back by taking the same exact line with the same braking force that he did during the last lap if that makes Dani screw up and crash. Dani was not be able to brake more to repass him as he got into that corner too hot; ask to see his telemetry. When Dani ran into to Simo's leg, perhaps he was the one with tunnel vision (I've heard this called "red mist" - you can look it up) after being passed like he was standing still meters before and didn't think enough to give up the position, like Estoril.

[Edited by a moderator to remove the personal insults]

Total votes: 91

Jerry Burgess on Laguna Seca '08

Last year, for a piece I wrote for Road Racer X, I interviewed Jeremy Burgess on that Laguna Seca race. I shall be posting the full interview before this year's race, but he said the following about their strategy before the race.

"We knew Casey was faster than us, but we also knew he didn't have a backup plan. We just had to stop him from getting ahead and getting away."

So being fastest isn't what counts, it's crossing the line first. The two are not necessarily the same.

Total votes: 75

NO MATHEMATICIAN

re: "was ahead and holding the line when Simoncelli came across his nose." How on earth is it possible"

because simo didn't attempt his pass until basically AFTER the 3rd brake marker. to successfully pull off an outside pass from that deep in, you don't need to be just "fast"...? you need to be EXPONENTIALLY fast (er)...! given that simo was on the outside of the turn, it's not unlike olympic track and field where they stagger the start positions of runners to account for the greater distance that must be travelled the farther your lane assignment is to the OUTSIDE of the track. a better analogy might be, think of it like the differential in your car that allows the outside wheel to spin FASTER than the inside wheel in order just to have the wheels track around a curve EVENLY. simo's a great rider, but he may dozed off when math and geometry were being taught in school. it happens.

Total votes: 75

math?

"because simo didn't attempt his pass until basically AFTER the 3rd brake marker."

This is incorrect. If you watch the replays is slo-mo as I have numerous times you'll see that while Pedrosa was IN THE PROCESS of passing (but not having yet gotten past) Simoncelli IMMEDIATELY jumped back into the lead as the entered the braking zone. Pedrosa braked first, which allowed Simoncelli back into the lead.

And this stretch you're making to compare motorbike racing to track events or car differentials is just that - a stretch. Are you somehow suggesting that motorbikes should race in lanes? It's absurd to suggest that Pedrosa was somehow "really" in the lead because of some imagined stagger that is used only in footraces.

Total votes: 78

One more example.

OK. Say, you are riding your bike through a corner on the highway. Another bike is next to you, really close. A little ahead even, his rear wheel aligned with your front. The other bike then moves to the left. What happens? He will take you down because there is nowhere for you to go. He can always say he was ahead of you, but that doesn't mean he didn't cut your nose.

Total votes: 75

Inadmissible – Once Were Warriors

“But what makes this more than just a slightly overly aggressive pass and turns it into a crime worth punishing is not the maneuver, but the fact that it was totally unnecessary at that point in the race.” - OP

I soundly disagree. His being inpatient was a shame, not a crime. His maneuver was the crime; compounded by the crash/injury - real consequences - not the relative timing of it. How is the “unnecessary at that point” point admissible to the race stewards?

But nice work on the “berserker-not-chieftain” analogy.

And to the bloke ^ who thinks the idea that just because Sic remained upright (might-is-right) ... that is absurd caveman logic – glorifying a proverbial twenty year old’s “F or Fight” mentality. Why not then take it to it’s logical extension? Setup a Road Warrior circuit with spikes on rims? MMA-MotoGP? We could have a double billing with the movie Once Were Warriors!

Yeah - since everyone should “just know” that Sic is going to blindly cut everyone off and crash them, they all should just let him through – right?

I’m just glad that bloke is so wrong - and that race direction is solid.

Total votes: 85

I like Simoncelli, hate to

I like Simoncelli, hate to wish this on anyone, maybe he needs to sustain an injury, broken schaphoid or collarbone to make him think a bit more about his riding....also cannot help thinking that maybe Honda will nobble his bike as punishment for his recent actions....is two way telemetry allowed on MotoGP bikes?

Total votes: 85

Great article, once again

This article shows clearly why this is the best MotoGP site in the World. Good work.

Total votes: 82

So Simoncelli is officially riding like a madman? What about

Ayrton Senna? The line between madness and genius is a very fine one.

Someone raised a good point that when Pedrosa decided to duel with Sic he had the right to play to win. I also initially sided with Pedrosa. Having watched the replays again I am beginning to see that Pedrosa would never have made that corner anyway as he has got his Honda stepping out and unstable by braking so heavily to make the inside line of that corner, and his track position meant it would be a very very tight inside line he was attempting.

Think I read it somewhere that he was standing the bike up to go straight on? If true it would have been an easy pass for Sic if he had waited for Dani to run wide or run on. As it is there is no 20:20 hindsight in the heat of battle, but more MotoGP experience in this case might have told him his move that might have easily been made on a 250 was a bit too ambitious on an 800. Second season in MotoGP, pushing to get podiums, Rookie mistake because in MotoGP terms he is, still, a rookie - just not a freshman!

If Simmo had not been there I do think Pedrosa would have gone straight into the gravel on his own. Had simmo been a few milliseconds further in front Pedrosa might have taken the corner and taken Sic down like he did to Hayden at Estoril 06. The way the bike became so unstable under braking is very very similar and also points to the riders weight difference. Ironically so often cited as an advantage for Pedrosa under acceleration, this time being his disadvantage as he could not shift his weight rearwards to stabilise the bike like Sic or Vale can.

Best I can come up with is 6 of one half a dozen of the other. Sorry for Pedrosas injury but in this case I think Sic is right to feel harshly treated by race direction in what was after all a racing incident with a bad outcome for the fragile Pedrosa.

This is going to run and run for years I think. Perhaps a follow up David - do you have any contacts in Race Direction who might spill the beans on their thinking?

Total votes: 79

Paul Butler

GPWeek talked to Paul Butler about the incident. On page 15 of the digital magazine. To reply to your point about Pedrosa standing the bike up, he did not do that on purpose, that happened because Simoncelli clipped his front wheel, which forced the bike upright.

Total votes: 89

Stop it.

Stop introducing facts David... you're ruining people's well thought out and deeply held opinions based totally on fact and racing experience, that this was all Dani's fault.

Total votes: 81

On Ayrton Senna, he was

On Ayrton Senna, he was generally worshipped for his commitment, only a couple of months ago on an f1 show they were talking about his genius, saying that 'when Senna passed you you either gave the corner or crashed'. Whilst Simmos pass has been proved reckless by the outcome I can't help but thinking Dani(not the guilty party) played a part..and a desperate one at that, and I suspect the shoulder also.. Hope he's back to fit to race fitness asap..and also hope this doesn't make Simo too hesitant in the future, the nature of the regs means the majority of passes(amongst the aliens) are tight these days and it takes two to make them happen..usually..

Total votes: 83

no racers here?

It is obvious from many of the comments here that not many people expressing opinions, if any, have ever raced a bike. I've spoken to a bunch of guys I have raced with over the years and to a man they all agree Marco was stupid and dangerous.

I've seen riders physically assaulted in the pits after a race for doing much less than Marco did.

Those of you saying Dani was the one that screwed up have clearly never ridden a bike in anger against others. And to suggest that a racer at that level should let marco go and settle for third? If they all thought like that we'd be constantly complaining that they don't have a decent go. you guys really need to stop and think a bit.

Riders need to have respect for each other. Race as hard as you like and bang fairings if you want, but always with a respect for the life and health of your competitors. Marco seems to lack this at this stage.

It will come, and in time he will replace Rossi as one of the 4 aliens.

Total votes: 79

What drek... I raced for 18

What drek...
I raced for 18 years, 4 national titles as an amateur, raced 4 years as a pro, ended up 42nd, 7th, 10th and 10th for the season nationally those 4 years, and finished 3rd once in a pro race. I have roadracing and championship experience.

I've seen the shot of Simo's leg touching Dani's wheel, and we are talking a knee against a wheel with significant gyroscopic inertia. Rubbing is racing gents. What I still see, and that is Dani was in too hot, and was given sufficient room up the inside to use if he could... When faced with those situations, when an individual thinks "I going to make it" or "I'm going to crash", they are right. I'm guessing Dani thought poorly.

Additionally, to suggest that Simo should be patient shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what drives individuals to be a racer. Racers are by nature impatient, and like a thoroughbred horse, want to run out front. At all times, every time, forever.

Total votes: 73

You’re fighting the good fight

“Additionally, to suggest that Simo should be patient shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what drives individuals to be a racer. Racers are by nature impatient, and like a thoroughbred horse, want to run out front. At all times, every time, forever.” -^

Hey champ, I agree with your ~”impatient”=irrelevant-to-the-matter-at-hand point, but humans are not horses. I’d like to think we expect racers to be smarter than a horse – of course.

Your “Rubbing is racing gents” argument gives you away. You’re true argument is pro more aggressive riding, and really has nothing whatsoever to do with whether Dani had enough room or not, or if Simoncelli’s leg caused Dani to stand up the bike, or who crashed and who went to the hospital – these things are completely irrelevant to you. You champion a more raw bare-fisted racing, which is a higher calling than this incident.

I empathize with you, but do not agree.

Total votes: 82

The True Argument?

Perhaps you can elaborate on your, well, rather grandiose induction.

Total votes: 82

ummm

I have no idea what that sentence is supposed to mean, much less whether it is directed at me?

Total votes: 78

WHAT IS THIS, A TRACK DAY...?

RE: "I've seen riders physically assaulted in the pits after a race for doing much less than Marco did."

AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH...!!!

Total votes: 77

Thanks again for your great

Thanks again for your great articles. Unfortunately it does not answer a question I’ve had since then - What constitutes "dangerous”? When does an accident go from a racing incident to a dangerous move deserving of censure? FIM rules and regulations talk about options available to race direction to penalize dangerous moves but does not define what is dangerous is nor does it regulate how sanctions should be applied. I've not seen or read where any rider past or present or journalists try to define the fine line between right and wrong. Should not the debate be better directed to defining this? To put black and white where there is currently grey. After all if there is a general consensus among racers and race fans then one could conclude reasonably that race direction will adopt it.
Race direction has been accused of inconsistency. However they may already have drawn that line albeit without informing the riders or the general public where the line is. It is unfair that other incidents has been used as examples of their inconsistency as there are differences ie Rossi - Stoner, Rossi was not in control of the bike when he hit Stoner whereas Simocelli was, Lorenzo - Dovi , Dovi did not fall ( hence we can assume that he was given sufficient room ) , Dani fell (most expert opinion is that he was not given sufficient room ). Outcome is important.
I am surprised that race direction has not made a statement explaining their assessment and conclusion as had happened with the Biaggi incident.
Please correct me if I am wrong. I do not race bikes hence cannot speak from experience. For the many years I've watched motor sport I had the understanding that the first rider into a corner had the race line and that an overtaking rider had to respect that. If Simocelli cut across Dani's race line causing the accident then he is at fault and broke this unwritten rule. If a rule is broken then it deserves punishment. The fact that there are other better places to pass in immaterial. The fact that Dani chose to try to defend his position is immaterial. Simocelli broke the rule and hence deserves punishment. Unless no such rule exists.
When travelling at high speeds at the limit of control there has to be some understanding between riders as to appropriate behavior to reduce the chance of accidents and hence injuries.
While we all enjoy close racing and suspense, most fans support one or two riders or perhaps a team. As such a fan I've not found Simocelli's riding exciting but scary. This recent incident was entirely predictable, the question was not if but when and to whom. No one wants their rider taken out by a loose cannon. I can understand why the current riders feel this way.
Unfortunately for Simocelli, he needs to ride aggressively to be fast. His weight determines it. Hence I do not expect that he would change.

Total votes: 71

Dangerous riding is like pornography

Race Direction and the FIM rulebook define dangerous riding the same way that most legislatures define pornography: "you know it when you see it." Laying out a very strict set of rules and definitions will often end up making the situation much worse than the current loose definition. It would certainly start opening up a lot of loopholes that riders' and teams' legal teams would start poking holes through, or more likely, driving a coach and horses through. The trouble is, that each incident is unique, and slightly different to all previous cases, and individual precedents always make for bad case law. Ironically, by keeping the definition loose, it makes it much easier to police.

Incidentally, Paul Butler did not regard Simoncelli's pass as "dangerous", but rather as "irresponsible," a subtle but important distinction, though one which is equally punishable.

Total votes: 67

Don't Expand the Rule Book

I completely agree with David that trying to write formal rules to dictate exactly how a rider may or may not overtake is futile and will be damaging to the spectacle of bike racing. Do we really want "you can only move 3 times on a straight to defend position" type rule as in F1? Riders too nervous to overtake on the brakes and instead lining up a draughting pass on the straight? Rider XX being under investigation by the stewards during the race. No thanks.

I'd bet that Simoncelli was holding his breath when he pulled the manoeuvre on Pedrosa and if his digits hadn’t been otherwise occupied he’d have crossed them all. Being a championship contender means realising when a move is high risk, weighing up the pros and cons and acting accordingly. Maybe the fact that Simoncelli is now effectively out of the championship race (barring miracles) this is no longer a consideration? Or maybe that first MotoGP win, when it happens, will be the character changing moment often talked about by commentators that means he won’t feel the need to be the most audacious rider on the track at every opportunity?

Either way, I’m sure there will be enough peer, sponsor, team, manufacturer pressure etc to focus his mind in the coming meetings.

Total votes: 74

Fantastic and fair treatment!

Dupe post -- deleted.

Total votes: 82

Fantastic and fair treatment!

Bravo! Someone speaks out with intelligence (not emotion) on the matter. I'm tired of hearing analysis of the situation prefaced with "I always hated the guy."

I personally believe that Simo left plenty of room for Dani to negotiate that corner, however, that maneuver did not leave any margin for error by either rider. Unfortunately, it appeared to me that Dani blew the corner too and used up all the margin there was to be had.

I came to this conclusion by watching many of the previous laps at that corner as well. You can clearly see riders taking that corner RIDING ON THE EDGE OF THE INSIDE CURB!!! Had Dani been able to make the corner on the inside curb, there would have been no collision. Simo may have possibly run off for being so overzealous and Dani would have most likely overtaken him.

Simo is a beast. The kid needs to be smarter about his racecraft to win. Who cares if the people like you or not. This is racing, not a beauty contest. Just be the best and forget the rest.

Total votes: 85

STEWARDS, BOFFINS, AND PUNDITS NOT REQUIRED...

this incident really requires no secondary review or outside speculation. the commentators called it SPOT-ON in real time. by virtue of the thousands of races they've critiqued, they know who had the line, and what a bad pass looks like when they see it.

Total votes: 75

David. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!

Simoncelli is not... lanky, he's gangly. Geez, get your commentary straight!

Seriously, excellent article. I was explaining this very idea to a friend (and new to motorcycle racing fan) the other day. That is, applying one's talent in the right way, and at the right time is a cornerstone ingredient that makes a fast racer a great one.

Total votes: 85

The tortoise and the hare

This incident can rage on for years,but right now I'm enjoying another facet of racing,which is the nuts and bolts of the Championship.The current points table.
Last year, a huge battle raged between the up and comming aliens,notably Ben vs Simmo. David has admirably covered the 'what if' permutations,4 races in barring the Simmo/Dani business.
As expected,Simmo has been right up there,whilst Ben has been unexpectedy short by comparison this year and thus far.
The points situation,if nothing else should give Simmo a wake up call.
In spite of the hype and spotlight shining on him,he only has a handfull of points over his erstwhile sparring partner for 'rookie of the year'.
Right now,Simmo is the hare to Ben's tortoise, let alone the sattelite Yamaha riders and Hiro. Inasmuch as Simmo's aggro on track is concerned,I will bet a good sum that it will be tempered considerably,should he get involved with Valentino,given a Le Mans/Dani situation.

Total votes: 71

FACTORY SUPPORT IS HEREBY RECINDED

re: "Inasmuch as Simmo's aggro on track is concerned,I will bet a good sum that it will be tempered considerably"

having the HRC works bits taken back from you will do that... not much "aggression" when you're missing the "transmission".

Total votes: 72

Completely agree

about Simoncelli behaviour.

You just didn't mention one thing: Pedrosa line was strange, even in an "overtake point of view"... but it is still not a good reason to ride as the inside guy was not there.

I believe Simo will make it, maybe he needs a little bit more time than the others.

Total votes: 69

Spot on.

I for one seriously wonder whether Marco has the brain to make that final step. As far as judging the whole event, I am an armchair expert like anyone else, but the fact that almost all MotoGp riders think it was Simmo's fault should say a lot.

Total votes: 64

Logic is irrelevant to emotion

It is irrelevant to someone who wants more aggressive racing. If anything, the rider’s uniformity proves the point.

Simoncelli (and his supporters) want to take it to the next level - because they can - and the rest of ‘em simply can’t hang.

You will not be able to stifle their base desire to take it to the next level with quotidian logic from this incident. It’s impossible. It’s an apples to parakeets situation.

Total votes: 77

and that's why you don't see gladiator fights anymore :-)

Lets hope in their drive to take it to the next level they don't take out every one else leaving us armchair experts with no spectacle to reflect and opine on.

Total votes: 82

logic?

With respect, your comment is ridiculous.

In general this whole topic is.

It was a racing incident, not a quest for death racing.

Does anyone actually think it was Marco's intent to take out Dani?

Racers crash all the time. Some times into each other. These things happen when you are riding a motorbike at 105%. King Kenny once stated he could do this for 3 laps. He would finish last these days, because now they do this for the whole race or don't stand a chance.

For a while Stoner was crashing every second race. Is he stupid? Is he dangerous? Does he over-ride? Hell, he even crashed on a warm up lap once. You might argue that he ended Sete's racing with a crash.

Dani was riding with injury. He once took out Hayden in what might be the dumbest pass in the history of GP. Is he stupid? Is he dangerous? Does he want more agressive racing?

Where was Lorenzo's ride through when he bashed Dovi? Is he dangerous? Does he want to make racing a contact sport? Sure looked like it last year in a few races with Rossi.

The only reason Marco was handed a ride through was pure politics of the days leading up to the race. The only reason we are still talking about it and trying to assign blame is because we are junkies with too much time on our hands and Dr.K enjoys 'selling copy'.

No one is asking for death racing. Though to be honest, I'd tune in :)

Total votes: 77

Spot on re: the other GP

Spot on re: the other GP riders' opinions!

Total votes: 71

Change?

What makes anyone think he'll change? Followed him all through 250s and he's never changed! I was only suprised his rookie year was so quiet. Rossi/Stoner/Lorenzo in recent times all had crash fests in their rookie years moving up finding new limits and .......... learned from it. I think Hayden dropped it quite a lot first year too.

I don't like his (Sic's) riding "attitude" and I didn't like Max Biaggi in GP but one thing is certain. Variety of character adds something and we need all of them, all the characters and all the spice. Goodies and Baddies - choosing a side adds enjoyment to the viewing.

So in a perverse way I am glad he is there mixing it up and causing havoc for my favorites. I just don't want to see guys hurt (I'm not a Ped fan either by the way).

For me it was Sic's fault, and I am way way in the minority on my own site too.

Total votes: 79

what happens in the next few races will be rather telling

in respect to Simoncelli's mind set. All the circus commentators seem to suggest he has this devil may care, 'I don't give two flying fu€ks what others think' attitude. Well his response to Lorenzo's salvo and the small degree of contrition he has displayed after blatantly slamming the door shut on Pedrosa would suggest otherwise.
Simoncelli is feeling the heat, and so he should. Yes he is fast, and yes he is exciting and I would love this leopard to change his spots. Let's hope he can do it without being emasculated by the attention he's brought on himself.

Total votes: 62

Do unto others...

Most societies follow the basic maxim, treat others as you would like to be treated. The same is true in MotoGP and any sport for that matter. Most of the riders on the grid manage to overtake each other cleanly and impressively without causing others on the track to feel worried for their safety.

Riders like Simoncelli take advantage of that respect by not returning the same courtesy and actually exploiting the fact that they are protected by others good judgement and well controlled aggression.

He repays this respect with extreme aggression, bad judgement and stand-over style tactics.

Some people are pumping him up to be the second coming of Rossi, but at the moment he just seems like a bully, using his size and I don't give a #### attitude to intimidate people on track. He should give it a rest, get on his bike and try a bit of clean, well thought out overtaking, he might surprise himself with an incident free podium.

BTW thanks for the article David, definitely the most well rounded view of the incident I have read thus far.

Total votes: 94

general v specific

I agree with the general thrust of the article and feel it is fair, measured, balanced and impartial. Overall, Marko needs to learn to pull his head in a little bit.

However - the specific incident which sparked this flamewar is another matter. The rules that govern overtaking in motorcycle roadracing are very specific and very explicit. It is the job of the rider overtaking to ensure that the move is safe. Once the overtaking rider is ahead, with regard to the natural racing line, then it becomes the job of the rider being overtaken to make sure the move is safe. That is, whoever is ahead, has right of way. The other rule is that you should never put a fellow rider in a position where collision or exit of the track is unavoidable.

At the moment of contact, Marco was clearly well ahead. Marco clearly didn't leave a lot of room on the inside, but if Danny had stayed tight, there was enough. So what did he do that was so wrong it deserved a ride through penalty? Rossi has made a lot of more aggressive and ill-advised passes than that (usually without crashing or causing a crash, but not always) and he has NEVER been given a ride through.

Total votes: 78

Intersecting arcs

I wish someone cleverer than I would scribe online the arcing lines both riders were on and how that would clearly display that a collision was inevitable the moment Simoncelli decided to turn in knowing Pedrosa was on the inside of him. Room? There was no room. You cannot tighten your line once at the apex.

These 'rules of racing' are unwritten but known by every yellow vested rookie club racer.

Total votes: 75

U line or V line

Actually, there was an interesting post here about the different cornering lines that were probably used by the two riders. The post was by a user named SloeGin.

He or she noted that Marco, being the heavier rider, had to use more corner speed, while Dani could square off the corner and still accelerate well on the exit due to his lesser mass.

It was perhaps the most interesting analysis I've read.
I don't know how right or wrong it was, but it was a different angle of analysis.
Unfortunately it got deleted.

Total votes: 74

V line?

With all due respect beaufort a V line simply doesn't exist. The U - V comparison was made years ago to describe the differing techniques of say Rainey versus Cadalora. All lines are U'ish arcs, and all riders get slung toward the outside of the track under acceleration.

Total votes: 81

If you look at the camera

If you look at the camera angle from behind both riders you can see that Danny back wheel hops while his already turning even shaking him off the seat, while the rear wheel is on the air Danny is turning less than he wanted to. This I think (And no, i´m not a rider) cause the line to be a little wider than he meant to. At that moment Simoncelli´s head was ahead (je) of Danny and he had no way of knowing this was happening. He left him space but just enough to make the turn problem-free (which didn´t happen), this is why I think it was a racing incident with more bad luck than bad intention.

Total votes: 82

I doubt Honda will hinder

I doubt Honda will hinder them. To HRC he could be the next Rossi so I doubt he'll get anything more than chastised unless he takes another Honda down in future races. He'll be alright. Like Lorenzo during his first few years.....he needs to learn to keep the shiny side up and the results will come. His talent is undeniable.

Good article as always David.

I have a new nickname for Sic, Afroman. And it's meant in a favorable fashion. There is a well known song that you can watch on Youtube by Afroman (a hip hop artist) called "Because I got high."

So I made up my own song. "I was going to win Jerez, but I got high. I found a way to make my Honda fly but I crashed and I know why because i got high because I got high, because I got high......I was gonna pass Pedrosa at LeMans and get my first podium but I got high. I passed him on the outside, taking him down, now everyone's blaming me and I know why, because I got high, because I got high, because I got HIGH!"

Before this is edited it's purely meant in fun and I'm sad Pedrosa was hurt.

Total votes: 76

Hmm . . .

I've watched the race & crash numerous times, and while I have an opinion on the 'incident', what I don't understand is Dani's 'thought process' racing to the apex of the turn. Dani entry point 100+ yds out of the turn was inside the 'normal' line + his approach speed meant that his braking point would have to be earlier to make the turn (look at all the riders line approaching the turn + their turn in + their apex), but he did NOT brake earlier! He tried to brake/out brake Simo, who was on the 'prefered' line. IMHO if Simo wasn't there, Dani's line + speed would have taken him way wide, possibly into the gravel.

I am NOT assigning blame here, only pointing out that I do not understand Dani's 'thought process' racing to that turn. Same could be said for Simo's 'thought process', BUT . . . if Simo would have conceded the turn to Dani, Dani's line/speed would have taken him wide and . . . .

Penalty---disagree with the penalty as it was 'final'. If race direction wants to look at it AFTER the race and add in a 10/20/30 second penalty, fine, but don't alter with the race IN PROGRESS!!

Total votes: 76

Comment rating

Whoohoo, comment rating!
Nice update, David! :)

Total votes: 77

Dani was performing a bog standard block pass

He was narrow because Simo was outside him. Yes normal braking into the apex or a little wider as he was, lose a lot of pace (more than normal), own the corner and stuff up your opponents drive. A move performed by all riders hundreds of times. Isn't this what we want to see from Pedrosa - racing?

The pace argument is a little redundant too in my mind. Pedrosa has been at this game for some time. He knows how to pace a race. I cannot see that he would've engaged Simocelli if he didn't think he had the speed to run with him. He simply could've been in a mid race tyre preservation mode after not being able to stick with Stoner. Who knows. But the man cannot be condemned for racing in the usually accepted term of the word, unlike his adversary of the day.

Total votes: 79

Block pass, yes I agree.

Block pass, yes I agree. Sadly I think this is the first comment on the "incident" that I have read that acknowledges that. I don't see how it can be anything else.

People would rather pretend that Dani was just going to fly through the corner and into the gravel to make a point to Marco that he owns the straights.

Total votes: 75

change of mind

after reading your article David, I was pretty convinced about Sic's fault. Then I started looking for second opinions, and now I am -maybe- a convert. The reason being I can't quite make out if Dani's standing up the bike was because of Sic's leg touching his front wheel, or because he just couldn't hold his line. It seems a lot of old racers believe Pedrosa should have kept his line, but they also said the outcome was definitely uncertain.
If Pedrosa stood the bike Before Contact with Marco's front wheel, then it's Dani's fault. If not, then it's Simmo's. It’s also true that Marco needs some wising up, but preferably at his own detriment and not other riders'. He showed poor judgment, but also… hey, this is racing.
One other point of interest is the reaction of race marshals. They let Rossi crash into Stoner with no penalty, but sentenced Marco on the spot. It only shows they are humans, affected by rank and legend –although they are supposed to be trained and impartial.
So, for all the drama and hoopla! for me it was just a race incident. Marco is in the picture now, but needs to develop his tactics and racecraft, if he wants to stay and move up. Dani didn't deserve this but he is in motorcycle racing and that is dangerous and the etiquette is not of ladies’ tea parties. Maybe he should train with minibikes as K.R senior pointed out, to feel more comfortable shoving and touching –since that is still allowed.

Total votes: 81

I also think it was a racing

I also think it was a racing incident. an unfortunate combination of what both riders wanted to do, what they eventually did and what they thought the other one would do.

However I think that Simoncelli´s knee touched Danny´s wheel more because he was running wide than because of the italian closing in.

Total votes: 68

Everone seemes...

to have forgotten how HRC works, there is no #1 rider, whoever is fastest is what matters to them, HRC did not sit Dani down after the incident with #69NH, HRC did not have a talk with him about the mistake he made, go back, do some research and then post, HRC does not care who wins as long as its a Honda, they will not talk to Marco.

Total votes: 75

I seem to remember Hayden

I seem to remember Hayden winning the championship in 2006. Also I think I remember the 2007 Honda to be a little more Danny oriented.

Total votes: 68

that's because they took

that's because they took notice that Dani was the faster rider than Hayden. Even though Hayden is a great rider, and I'll always pull for him, he isn't the fastest of the aliens. He doesn't win many races, rather he won the championship through consistency. In HRC's minds, this they considered a stroke of luck and believed that Rossi would not make the same mistakes he did in 06. So HRC, sponsored by REPSOL, a SPANISH oil company, put all their development effort into Pedrosa with the understanding that Pedrosa possessed raw talent, and the perfect physical makeup for a smaller displacement 800cc bike. Obviously this all went for naught ,seeing how the disadvantages of being that tiny have been brought up ad naseum, and Stoner won on a retardedly fast Ducati, and Rossi proved that a lanky guy could still be amazing on a smaller cc bike with the right racecraft and developmental talent.

If Pedrosa was in WC contention that year, and Hayden was not, and Hayden took out Pedrosa, you better believe something would come down the grapevine from HRC/Repsol. Repsol wants a spanish GP champion more than anything in the world. Remember all the rumors of Repsol possibly moving to Yamaha to sponsor Lorenzo? For this reason, and the fact that the Yamaha is still in the #1 position in the championship, I'm sure Simoncelli did indeed have a good little "chat" with some people in high places.

Total votes: 66

Simo

Ok. Thanks to this new post, you all have me watching every video possible of the incident. To me it looks like Pedrosa fought back after being passed, (like he should, because it is a race, something many people USED to say he did not do). Simo passed him back under braking. Simo, may have thought Pedrosa would be able to back down seeing him ahead. Simo, I think overestimated the time he was ahead of Pedrosa. Not giving Pedrosa enough time to adjust to Simo actually out braking him from the outside. So when Simo went in on his regular line Pedrosa was still trying to keep ahead, and maybe thought he could press Simo wide. By the time Pedrosa noticed it was too late and Simo's knee slider was touching the front tire of Pedrosa.

To me, it was just a racing incident. Both could have backed off. But they both wanted that position quite badly. Neither did. They both went for it at the same time. In racing sometimes that happens and THE MOVE, turns into the, THE F#CK UP!

Unfortunately for Simo, he has the World Champion and many others complaining about him. And the fact that Pedrosa crashed and broke a bone. This, mixed with the hell that Puig can raise, along with an ITALIAN taking out a SPANIARD in a Spanish led series, was too much. Something had to be done, so they penalized him. And in truth, it was bound to happen at some point.

I personally like Simo. He brings excitement. But like a baby Cobra, when it is young, spits venom all over the place, uncontrollable. Once it matures, it shoots its venom when it wants to. Simo merely needs to refine his choices when riding. If more rode like him, Rossi would not have to say most of the young riders are pussies.

Just my humble opinion.

Total votes: 82

slow motion video

From this slow motion video, it seems Dani was left enough space but lost control of the bike, as Simoncelli stated:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVVvDGFpj-k

Total votes: 67

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