Photo of the Week: Brush Your Shoulders Off

08/15/2011 @ 2:06 pm, by Scott Jones7 COMMENTS

On the grid at Mugello I watched as seven or eight visiting Japanese gentlemen in matching white Honda shirts smiled, bowed, and shook hands with Simoncelli, and I couldn’t help wondering if they were congratulating him in advance for having knocked out his latest fellow Honda rider. Rumors had been flying around the paddock about the discussions HRC had held with Sic concerning his inability to tame his raw speed, and add the crucial element of sound judgment while in the heat of battle.

While his pace this season was plain to see, the question continued to fascinate us: would Marco ever find a way to be fast and smart? He came in sixth that day, and looked nothing like the Super Sic we’d come to know and fear, in spite of having qualified third. In Germany he was sixth again, and at Laguna Seca he crashed out for the fifth time this season.

At Brno he seemed to have completed a metamorphosis from wild and dangerous to calm and calculating (possible spoiler alert ahead). After a poor start he worked his way through the field until finding himself behind two riders with whom he has a complex past: Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Watching the laps tick off with Sic in fourth place, hungry for that first podium but dangerously close to Lorenzo, one couldn’t help but have the feeling of watching a train wreck about to happen. Given all that has occurred with Lorenzo, the sparring in press conferences, the latest rider elimination of JL at Assen, would Sic rush in again and further complicate his history with the reigning world champ?

When Sic got safely by Lorenzo, there he was behind his long time rival Dovi, yet another opportunity for post race fireworks should Sic be involved yet again in an on-track incident that knocked out a fellow Honda rider. Would Simoncelli finally, finally tame his inner demons’ lust for a podium in the top class and stay on two wheels until the end? The suspense was much more exciting than the way Casey Stoner dismissed the rest of the field and rode to his latest victory.

Clowning around post race with his Bridgestone cap on backwards, jumping in glee when presented with his 3rd place trophy, and dislodging the unfortunate head wear, Simoncelli looked very pleased finally to have knocked this particular monkey off his back. Sic may have turned a corner at Brno, but he still has his first top class victory to achieve. The suspense about what Sic will do on track next is not yet over.

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 blogTwitter, & 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

  • SBPilot

    Great write up. So happy for Super Sic and hope he goes two better this year. I also had a race this past weekend and also got the podium monkey off my back, also claiming third in my first podium.

    Now I yearn for the top step as I’m sure Super Sic also does now too.

  • keet

    wow, one podium, BFD?! when he has MORE podiums than off’s then maybe give him some praise. dovi deserves far more attention than sic. maybe you should write an article on how great elias is for not coming in last while you’re at it.

  • Thanks, SBPilot, and congratulations on your own first podium!

    keet, sorry but I must disagree. Dovi has had three and a half years, two and a half on a factory Honda, to show that he is capable of consistently challenging for race wins. He has not done so, which is why rumors in the paddock have him headed to a satellite team in 2012. Simoncelli has shown more potential, especially this season, to join the fight at the front, which is why some of us find his story more interesting. Dovi does seem to be making a surge recently, but I fear it’s too little too late for him, whereas many are hoping Sic can realize his potential by tempering raw pace with good judgement and joining the elite riders.

    As for Elias, beating the Pramac Ducatis is not that impressive imo, although the fact that Toni was able to go a second faster than he best race lap during the following test is a sign that he might last the season at LCR. Good news for him, and I hope he can stick around. He sure brought us some exciting racing before he went to Moto2.

  • I was the only one in the room rooting for Dovi in Brno this weekend, probably because I think he’s an underrated rider who is always in the alien’s shadows (where did he finish in the points last year? where is he this year?).

    That being said, Super Sic has all the right makings to be a champion, sans some riding maturity. Let’s not forget how many times Lorenzo was in the gravel during the 2009 season, and where did he end up in 2010?

    If Marco can make the same growth in his racing as Lorenzo did several years ago, he’ll be a contender for sure, and that’s why HRC is giving him the nod over Dovi.

  • 76

    Its always incredible how quickly the weather changes,
    2008 4 dnf’s, (Factory)
    2009, 4 dnf’s. (Factory)

    Was anybody kicking and screaming how reckless, and immature he was, questioning how smart his riding was? Even better Stoner and his first year at Honda 2006, what 6 DNF’s?

    This is Simoncelli’s 2nd year in GP,
    2010 2 dnf’s
    2011 4 dnf’s (Factory)

    Simoncelli has what it takes, with some health and a good 1000cc bike under him next year he is going to be fighting for more than just the box. BTW if Simo is so reckless why didnt anyone call out bloody murder for the Moto2 race? Oh thats right because thats exciting, what motoGP can only hope for now a days.

  • Beary

    Moto2 at Brno was superb. If the 800 race had been similar, there would have been more moaning and whining from lorenzo.stoner.pedrosa about unsafe passing, too much aggression. I wish jlo would stfu, he is losing bucketloads of fans this year from his whiney, petulant mouth.

    I would love to see Marco become regularly in the top 4, I like spies too but gosh he is no personality and he has been dissapointing on factory machinery. Marco could be great and I think he is on the way there but I feel sad for dovi’s rejection. But Repsol only want top shelf for 2012 and they can see where Marco is heding.

  • SBPilot

    Thanks Scott!

    I also agree with the Dovi statement. As much as I like the guy in his cool, calm demeaner, he’s had a lot of time on the factory machine to show what he can do. He’s certainly fast, and if anything this year he’s super consistent. But he just aint winning races and you can tell he’s frustrated by that, as is the team.

    I don’t think Pedrosa is in much better position. He’s unbelievably quick, maybe the quickest outright rider right now, but if he keeps breaking bones and falling, he will never win a title. The biggest problem for him isn’t himself anymore either, its Mr. amazing, Marc Marquez. From the beginning of the season when he said he wasnt’ concerned of the title, I already knew he just needed time to adapt to the Moto2, and now he’s adapted, and he’s right up there for the title fight. Super fast, super aggressive, but also a very sensible mature rider. He’s also got a bit more personality than DP.

    If Marc beats Bradl to the title, in his first year in Moto2, that will be amazing. But regardless he’s already shown he can adapt new machinnry and master it within half a season. Repsol will want him on a factory Honda in MotoGP ASAP and will pay the money to put him there. Dani’s time on factory machinery wont’ last much longer.