Mugello is many things: majestic, magical, magnificent. Beautifully set, with a natural flow unmatched almost anywhere else.
It was made to host the fastest, most powerful motorcycles in the world, giving them room to stretch their legs and challenging the rider’s skill and bravery, and the bike’s handling, horsepower, and braking.
Unfortunately, this challenge is what makes Mugello so dangerous. During the afternoon session, Andrea Dovizioso hit 356 km/h on the Ducati Desmosedici GP18. Shortly after, his engine spewed a huge cloud of smoke at the end of the straight, causing the red flag to come out.
A little while previously, the session had also been red flagged, after a huge, vicious crash by Michele Pirro just over the crest at the end of the straight, the fastest and most dangerous part of the track.
It made for some harrowing moments at Mugello. The track fell silent, a pall descending on pit lane as the teams feared the worst. Having learned their lesson at previous tragedies, Dorna were not showing either the crash or the rider on the ground.
The mood only lifted when word reached us that Pirro was conscious, and moving his arms and legs. MotoGP dodged a bullet on Friday. But there are still rounds in the chamber.
You are driving down a road with questionable conditions, and as you round a bend, you see a minefield of gravel the path of your motorcycle. For anyone who has ridden the backroads of America, this scenario should be one that is familiar, and while a certain amount of rider skill can navigate you to safety, if you hit a gravel patch while leaned-over, the physics simply aren’t on the side of the motorcycle. According to the CNET though, the folks at Bosch want to change that, and it seems that Bosch has a novel concept in the works – straight from NASA and the space program. The idea is both simple and complex. It is compressed gas thrusters.
Racing produces drama. When you put 24 riders on an equal number of 270hp MotoGP machines, you can never be certain of the outcome.
The tired and obvious story lines you had written in your head before the race have a tendency to go up in smoke once the flag drops. Racing produces a new reality, often surprising, rarely predictable.
But that doesn’t stop us from drawing up a picture after practice of how the race is going to play out. At a tight track like Jerez, passing is difficult, and so the rider who can get the holeshot can try to open a gap and run away at the front.
After qualifying, it was clear that the three factory-backed Hondas were strongest, the Repsols of Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa, together with the LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow were all a cut above the rest.
It would be an all-RC213V podium, with the other manufacturers left to fight over the scraps. The Ducatis would do battle with the Suzukis, and the Yamahas would find some pace at last, and get in among it at the front. It didn’t pan out that way, of course.
I have seen a few nasty crashes in my day, and not all of them have had positive outcomes. So, when I say that this is the luckiest crash that I have seen in motorcycle riding, it should carry some weight.
This video comes from motorcycle vlogger Hammy Moto, and it is taken as he rides down a Southern California freeway. For reasons that aren’t clear from our point-of-view in the video, Hammy Moto’s Kawasaki Z1000 begins to have a violent headshake, before finally crashing while near a tractor-trailer.
What happens next is where things get crazy, as Hammy Moto and his bike go sliding across the asphalt, right under the trailer. Popping out the other side, Hammy Moto narrowly misses all the wheels on the trailer, and walks away with just a little road rash to show for the experience.
It is a one-in-a-million occurrence to miss being run-over by the semi in a situation like the one shown. Dudeman is lucky to be alive. Always wear you gear.
On May 17th, 2017, Nicky Hayden was out training on his bicycle, near the Adriatic Coast, when he was struck by car in an intersection very close to the Misano World Circuit. The incident would prove to be a fateful one, and send ripples through the motorcycle industry, as Hayden died five days later in a hospital outside of Rimini, Italy. Since then, the accident has been under investigation by the local prosecutor, and the results of that forensic investigation have now been released to the public. Reconstructing the incident through statements made by the driver, eyewitnesses, and CCTV video footage, the investigation has found fault on both sides of the crash – assigning 30% of the blame to Nicky Hayden, for running the stop sign, and 70% of the blame to the driver, for excessive speed.
After a last-lap crash in Race 1 at Misano, Chaz Davies has been declared to have broken his back during the incident. The announcement comes after Davies was taken to the Rimini Hospital for further medical assessment, after he was taken by stretcher off the race track – just three corners away from the finish line.
Doctors in Rimini diagnosed Davies with a closed thoracic trauma, which includes aa fracture of the transverse process of the third lumbar vertebra (L3). Davies also suffers from a contusion of the left thumb.
Michael van der Mark suffered a rear tire failure during the closing stages of Race 1 at the Misano WorldSBK round.
The Dutch rider was leading the race at the time, and had a firm chance to claim a first career victory in the class, when his rear tire suddenly failed and pitched him off the bike through the series of fast right-handers at the end of the lap.
For Pirelli, it is the second round in a row where they have seen a tire failure affect the outcome of a race, after Jonathan Rea suffered the same fate at Donington Park.
Ian Hutchinson might have a broken femur bone right now, but all-in-all he is a pretty lucky man. Crashing during the Senior TT at the 2017 Isle of Man TT, the 16-time TT race winner had a horrific off while coming over the mountain section of the famed road racing course.
It is suspected that Hutchinson suffered from a punctured front tire, which caused the crash. That revelation though probably does little to change the fact that Hutchinson will once again have to recover from a serious injury to his left leg.
Hutchinson is expected to fully heal from his broken femur, though one has to wonder if he can ever truly recover from this crash at the 27th Milestone. You will understand what we mean, after you watch the embedded video.
The final race of the 2017 Isle of Man TT, the Pokerstars Senior TT is the competition that every rider wants to win. The “Blue Ribbon” event of race week, the six-lap Senior TT is the crown jewel to the TT fortnight.
Once again, a TT race was framed around two riders: Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop. Hutchinson came into the Senior TT with two race wins on his tally, one from the Superbike TT and one from the Superstock TT.
Riding on the BMW S1000RR, Hutchinson has a race-proven machine under him, and he has been riding in the form of his life. Contrast that with Michael Dunlop, who has been doing the donkey work in developing the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R as a formidable TT racing machine.
Dunlop comes into the Senior TT with only one win – earned during the Supersport TT Race 1 – with the jump to the GSX-R1000R still not panning out like he would have hoped.
With this in mind, we head into the Senior TT – a race, once again, defined by two riders.
Guy Martin is lucky to still be with us, after a frightful off during the Superbike TT on Sunday. Finding “a box full of neutrals” as he sped through Doran’s Bend, just ahead of the Glen Helen timing point.
The result of that technical failure was captured by on-board footage, which saw Martin crashing and thankfully coming away from the incident relatively unscathed physically.
The crash has clearly shaken Guy Martin though, as he sat out the following day’s Supersport TT Race 1 as well as today’s Superstock TT race.
What is between the ears is the most important part of a racer, and after a technical failure lead to John McGuinness crashing at the North West 200, along with this incident with Martin’s gearbox, one can sure begin to wonder about Martin’s confidence in the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 race bike.
You can watch his video interview with Craig Doyle, after the jump, and see for yourself how shaken Guy is over the incident. Coming back to road racing, after a year’s hiatus, one has to wonder if Martin will take to the course again this TT fortnight. Time will tell…something Martin himself notes in the video.