Monday, July 05, 2010

My first encounter with Moto GP

I've been meaning to watch a Moto GP race for a while, given the enthusiasm of some of the F1 crowd on Twitter for the sport, but it was only yesterday that I actually got round to it. I knew that watching 800cc bikes being ridden at 200 mph was going to be a bit wild, but I was quite unprepared to see riders, having been thrown off at great speed, scoot across the gravel with their bikes, get up, grab the bike almost before it stopped and get back on again. If that wasn't bad enough, there was one guy racing with a cracked sternum. Given the angles that these guys end up at, leaning over to each side so far that they are almost touching the ground, as well as having to operate the controls with their hands and arms, that must have been mighty unpleasant for him.

The craziness of Moto GP almost makes F1 look like a teddy bear's picnic - although we know it isn't. Thankfully Mark Webber's horrific accident last weekend ended with him walking away virtually unscathed, but it was a reminder of what can go wrong and what risks these drivers are prepared to take.

It's interesting that Michael Schumacher got his thrills during his retirement by racing superbikes. I guess it was one of the few things outside F1 that would get the adrenaline flowing.

I really didn't have much of a clue about who was who or what was going on but I managed to work out that the current world champion broke his leg rather spectacularly 4 weeks ago and is already talking about getting back on a bike this week. My friend on Twitter, Kate, pointed out that

Rossi's injury is a carbon copy of Webber's (when he broke his leg in Nov 08 while on a road bike in Australia). They thought Webber might not race, but Rossi back in weeks!!

The BBC's coverage was very good - and fronted by a woman who knows lots about bikes and bike racing. The commentators Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish sounded more like they were discussing events down the pub, combining a relaxed style with passion. Jonathan Legard, the BBC's F1 commentator, who has a natural ability to make exciting events sound like paint drying, could do well to take a few leaves out of their book.

I wouldn't say I was hooked, but I enjoyed the race, won by Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, who extended his lead in the world championship and I'd definitely watch again.

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