Photo of the Week: Head of the Class

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Part of the interest of the first race of the MotoGP season relates to the class photos, where the riders come out first for the 125cc group shot, then Moto2, and last the MotoGP riders appear. The 125 riders are mainly kids, so there is a lot of joking around in high voices that haven’t dropped yet. Moto2 is a mix of young and not as young, but it’s still a large field so the phrase “herding cats” is likely to be uttered a few times as the Dorna folks try to get everyone into position for the photograph.

The MotoGP riders are much fewer in number, but the group makes up for its smaller size with proportionally larger egos, and the premier class’ mind games are already well under way when it comes to which individuals will appear to sit down first, and wait for those who chose not to wait for anyone else.

Last year in Qatar, as Jorge Lorenzo was beginning what would be his first premier class championship, he surprised us as the first big name rider to take a seat while the others played chicken by staying in their pit boxes or hospitalities. There had been some mystery about the symbol he’d chosen for the back of his helmet, familiar by now to MotoGP fans as the Spartan war helmet in red.

Lorenzo took his spot while other riders and photographers were still milling around and shooting the breeze. For several minutes Lorenzo stared at the Spartan symbol, and I remember thinking at the time that this guy was focussed and not messing about. He was there to win the title and that symbol seemed to be the touchstone that keep him locked on his goal. What followed was one of the most impressive Championship seasons in MotoGP history, and when I think of how it all started, I think of the moment shown in this photograph.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office. You can find him on his blog, Twitter, & Facebook. Scott is such a nice guy, he’ll even let you stay in his Lake Tahoe cabin. All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved