Tommy Hill Fights Through Pain for 6th at Croft

Swan_Yamaha_BSBSwan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill put in a heroic performance at the third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Croft today to score a sixth place in the second race of the day despite still suffering with his shoulder injury sustained two weeks ago.

In the opening race of the day the changing conditions made tyre choice a gamble with the team opting for wets, which later proved to be the wrong choice and Hill and Michael Laverty endured a difficult race to finish in fourteenth and twenty-fourth respectively.

In the second race Laverty started from the third row, but whilst trying to move up the order he collided with Jon Kirkham and the pair crashed out of contention on the opening lap. Hill put in a heroic performance from the sixth row to fight the pain of his injured shoulder to work his way up the order to end the race in sixth, which was enough to maintain his fifth place in the overall championship standings ahead of Thruxton.

Hill said:

“Race one was disappointing with the conditions changing and going for the wrong tyre choice but I am really happy with the second race today. I knew we had the pace and that we would just need to keep chipping away. I felt reasonably comfortable when I was in a pack of riders and focused on someone ahead of me as I could try and make the pass then settle in and look at who would be next which gave me focus. That kept me going because when the safety car came out I would really feel the pain again. To go from 21st to sixth was a fantastic result for me and the Swan Yamaha team as we got some good points in the bag. Before this weekend we didn’t know what to expect or whether I would even be able to race but once I was out there the adrenaline kicked in and I have to say that is the best form of pain relief! It has been a good end to the weekend for us and we came away with some points and that was what we wanted to do and now we just need to regroup and be fit and ready for Thruxton.”

Laverty said:

“All I can say is that I am really gutted with how today has gone. The first race was a non-event as it was a gamble on tyres and we opted for the wrong choice. For the second race I had a third row start and I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I would have to push as Shane Byrne would be getting away at the front otherwise. I had a battle with Jon Kirkham and I passed him, he then passed me back. I went for a move, we collided and both went down. It was a racing incident which is so frustrating for me and it seems that luck hasn’t been on my side here this weekend. I just need to regroup and be ready to fight for the podium at Thruxton for Swan Yamaha.”

Swan Yamaha Team Owner Shaun Muir concluded:

“In the first race it was a sheer case of the wrong decision on tyre choice, but we need to draw a line under that and move on. In race two Tommy’s performance was nothing short of heroic and was the ride of the day in my eyes to salvage a sixth position despite the pain he was suffering. Michael had a lot of determination in the second race and it got the better of him; it was a 50-50 racing incident and he just was a tad eager and paid the price. The Swan Yamaha team will now pull together and we can see what we can do for Thruxton to get back on the podium where we need to be.”

[Press Release Courtesy of Swan Yamaha. Read more at www.swanyamaha.co.uk]

Live Updates From Infineon: AMA Daytona Sporbikes Race 2

Jason_DiSalvo_qualifying_SaturdayJosh Herrin will be back on the grid today and is sure to give Jason DiSalvo, Jake Holden, and Danny Eslick some extra competition. Herrin was given a one race suspension after the Daytona 200 for causing a crash that wrecked Dane Westby.

DiSalvo is the favorite heading into the second race of the weekend. DiSalvo won race 1 at Infineon for the Daytona Sportbike class, and looked pretty fast during the warm-up session. DiSalvo also won the opening race of the 2011 Daytona Sportbike series and will be looking to make it three consecutive race wins in a row this afternoon.

The riders are out on the grid.

  • Row 1: Disalvo / Odom / Holden / Galster
  • Rw 2: Westby / Villa / Eslick / Jacobsen
  • Row 3: Herrin / Knapp / Beaubier / Aquino

There’s a slight drizzle on the far end of the track, but it looks like the green flag will fly soon.

The Daytona Sportbike have taken off on their warm up lap and are now sitting on the grid.

And they’re off!

Josh Herrin jumps off the line and takes the lead from DiSalvo.

Herrin holds the lead throughout lap 1.

Herrin runs wide and Holden slips into first.

HOLDEN IS DOWN.

Huge crash for Jake Holden. Bike does multiple flips into the air fence, but Holden looks unscathed.

Lap 3: Holden was leading throughout the third lap, but hands the lead over to Herrin.

Herrin / Eslick / DiSalvo / West

Eslick passes Herrin – Herrin passes Eslick. DiSalvo rides the tail of the top two.

Lap 6: The red flag is flown. It looks like some rain is coming down on the farside of the track.

The red flag is indeed for surface conditions. There is rain on turn 6 and 7. The AMA is red flagging the race to assess the situation. The AMA will also remove Holden’s bike from turn 6, as it is an impact area.

All corner stations are reporting dry conditions. The rae will resume shortly with 17 laps remaining.

The bikes are now off the grid as it continues to drizzle at Infineon.

Race officials have given the ok to proceed. Three minutes until the warm-up lap.

The riders are back on the trap doing a warm-up lap. They’ll proceed to the grid shortly for the race re-start.

Grid: Herrin / DiSalvo / Eslick / West

And they’re off! Again.

DiSalvo takes the lead from Herrin.

DiSalvo goes way wide and hands the lead back to Herrin. DiSalvo drops back to fourth place.

Lap 6: Herrin – Eslick – West – Beaubier – DiSalvo

Eslick ducks under Herrin to take the lead.

Beaubier blows wide on turn nine and drops back behind the leading pack.

There is less than a second between the top four riders as they lap around the Infineon track in the 1’40s.

Herrin, Eslick and DiSalvo lead the way around the Infineon track.

Lap 8: Herrin – Eslick – DiSalvo. The top three riders cross the line within .3 seconds of eachother.

DiSalvo takes the lead on Lap 9 by setting the fastest lap of the race. DiSalvo is the only rider so far to drop below 1’40.

DiSalvo stretches the lead to three bike lengths ahead of Herrin and Eslick.

Rider down. Tyler Odom falls on the track and nearly gets hit by the passing motorcycles.

Odom is up and off the track. Odom was in 7th when he went down.

DiSalvo builds his lead as Eslick and Herrin battle for second behind him.

DiSalvo has close to two seconds ahead of Eslick and Herrin.

Lap 13: DiSalvo – Eslick – Herrin – Jacobesen – Beaubier – West – Aquino

DiSalvo and Eslick are both lapping in the high 1’39s. Herrin is starting to fall behind.

DiSalvo is putting the hammer down. Sets another fastest lap with a 1’39.5 lap time.

The top three riders are sitting comfortable in their current positions. DiSalvo has a two second gap in front of Eslick. Eslick has a four second gap in front of Herrin.

Lap 16: DiSalvo – Eslick – Herrin – Jacobsen – West – Beaubier – Aquino – Westby – Knapp

Four laps to go. Eslick will have to make his move now if he wants to catch up to DiSalvo.

Herrin has dropped to more than 10 seconds behind Eslick. It should be a DiSalvo, Eslick, Herrin podium.

Herrin cut a half second off of Disalvos lead. He could catch him at the end.

Lap 20: DiSalvo – Eslick – Herrin – Jacobsen – West – Beaubier – Aquino – Westby – Knapp

One lap to go. DiSalvo has really turned it up at the end, and now has a three second lead ahead of Eslick.

DiSalvo nearly loses control on turn 9. He has just enough space to secure the victory.

DiSalvo does the double at Infineon!

AMA Daytona Sportbike Results – Infineon Race 2

  1. DiSalvo
  2. Eslick
  3. Herrin
  4. Jacobsen
  5. West
  6. Beaubier
  7. Aquino
  8. Westby
  9. Knapp
  10. Allston

Full report to follow.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Atlas Wins Both TTXGP Opening Races at Infineon

Steve_Atlas_BrammoSteve Atlas and his Brammo motorcycle were untouchable during the opening round of the 2011 TTXGP series. Atlas took the win during Saturday’s race, and backed up his performance with another impressive win on Sunday.

Atlas and the Brammo team had little competition at Infineon. Only four riders took to the grid this weekend, as the Lighting team and the Mission Motors team both scratched before race day.

But even with limited competition, Brammo and Atlas showed the speed of electric bikes. Atlas set the track record today at the Infineon circuit on his way to victory number two.

Atlas set a 1’55.50 lap time around the Infineon circuit, breaking the previous record (set by Zero Agni in 2010) by nearly two seconds.

TTXGP Race 1 Results

  1. Steve Atlas (Brammo)
  2. Thad Wolf (Moto Electric)
  3. Kenyon Kluge (VOLT)
  4. Ely Schless (Proto Moto)

TTXGP Race 2 Results

  1. Steve Atlas (Brammo)
  2. Thad Wolf (Moto Electric)
  3. Kenyon Kluge (VOLT)
  4. Ely Schless (Proto Moto)

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Why the Hate for Dani Pedrosa?

Dani Pedrosa on the trackThis last year at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round of the FIM MotoGP Championship came and went – 2010’s event is now done and recorded in the history books; the season is done and the new one begun. If you watched, attended, or at least read about the California race, you will know that Dani Pedrosa led much of the race after gaining a slight lead on Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. It did seem that there may be a repeat of the 2009 finish, but it was not to be.

On lap 11, Pedrosa pushed a bit too hard as Lorenzo was creeping up on him and the Repsol Honda rider went down in turn 5. Even after he fell, though, something most of us would never wish on a motorcycle racer as it could result in a career-ending injury or even death, people among the crowd were actually heard to say that they were ‘glad Pedrosa went down’.

pedrosa2On the way in to the ‘Pit Invasion’ for some decent MotoGP podium photos, an obviously intoxicated fan was overheard saying, “I’m so happy Pedrosa crashed – I hate that guy!” This emotion seems rather extreme, especially for a young man from Spain who races motorcycles for a living; he’s not leading a nation to war or during a drought or famine and he has never killed anyone. Why is hatred for this phenomenal performer so prevalent in the MotoGP fan world?

In an attempt to better understand what reasoning may be behind this, we must first look to events in recent MotoGP history.

One potential reason is a rather specific event which comes to us from the 2006 MotoGP season. That was the year that Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were dueling for the World Championship title. The points situation was tight and any mistake by either one could put the crown far beyond reach. Come 15 October 2006, in the 16th and penultimate round of that year’s series at Estoril in Portugal, it went bad.

Pedrosa was attempting to pass his teammate going into a tight turn 6 on the fifth lap – he went down and took Hayden with him. It was a devastating blow to Hayden’s championship hopes and put him behind Rossi on the leader board for the first time since that year’s third round. It certainly turned the final round into a very stressful affair for both the Doctor and the Kentucky Kid.

Since that collision, much derision has been focused on Pedrosa by mainly American fans of Hayden, but they are not alone. The Repsol Honda team is supposed to be just that – yes, your first competitor is your teammate, but you should never sabotage the chances for the team to get a championship. Thus, you do not take out the guy (or gal, someday) you share your garage with. Honda has a large fanbase, as anyone who has attended a GP will know. This incident incensed those fans as well and still does to some extent.

Repsol Honda, though, is not the only team with some serious fans; Ducati, Fiat Yamaha, Rizla Suzuki, Tech 3 Yamaha, Pramac Ducati, and even Kawasaki, all have acolytes in every corner of the planet. (Other major marques will gain their followers once they get themselves into the series, but the riders usually stay fan favorites no matter the name on the tank.)

This actually leads us away from the 2006 nastiness between Pedrosa and Hayden as being the predominant reasoning – or rationalization – of the feeling towards the Spaniard. It certainly does have an impact for some, but it is simply too small a number of people to account for how widespread this phenomenon is currently.

We have to look further and broaden the perspective at the same time; we need a Hi-Definition image to scour for information. Fortunately, others have already done most, if not all, of this investigation. Moto magazines, editorials and columnists from just about every area of the motorcycle racing press have analyzed Pedrosa himself from just about every possible viewpoint. Even with all of that coverage, though, they have not thus far looked into why he may be disliked so widely – very few have addressed it directly, but they have brought to light another potential cause, which also may qualify as the most logical answer to this question. It has everything to do with attitude and demeanor…image is important, whether we wish it so or not.

Dani Pedrosa is a pupil of the rather driven coach Alberto Puig. Puig has a long and storied career in the Motorcycle Grand Prix series as a rider, team manager and influential voice to Dorna and the FIM. His authority is large and among his other ‘products’ have been Casey Stoner and Toni Elias, both highly accomplished riders.

It is his dedication and focus which leads him to often appear less than happy in public; he often seems distracted and distant. Since Pedrosa has been working with Puig for his entire career, it is very possible that this single-minded, tunnel vision attitude has rubbed off on Pedrosa. This tends to make him appear aloof and arrogant to many, sad and shy to others. Those who see the former view believe him to be something of a prince looking down his nose on his subjects. If this is not at the heart of the image problem Pedrosa has, it is very close to the mark.

Truth be told, though, this is actually a simple problem of perception. Fans see something and draw conclusions from what is witnessed – even if they have no idea of the back-story or the truth behind the scenes. So, is it possible that there are further behaviors which contribute to this twisted vision? To the viewing public, yes there are…

If you had spent time watching him throughout his decade in the World Championship classes, it would be very obvious to even the most casual observer that he rarely smiles. He also seems to have the weight of the entire team on his shoulders – no matter who parks beside him – as he slumps around the paddock when not on the track. Win at any cost is the philosophy he appears to represent and the tactics on the track seem to bear this out in some incidents.

Some have even said that he’s a machine who has been trained day in and day out to ride a motorcycle very fast, and not much more. He doesn’t spend much quality time with the English-language media and usually offers very short and direct answers to questions. Since MotoGP is very popular in Spain, he gets more air time there, but the majority of international fans of the sport do not see that coverage. We in the U.S. only get to see him at the races with his game face on and his mind on the task at hand – a perfectly understandable frame of mind for a man with his mission. It is tough to look happy in that state.

The common thread in all of that is the lack of exposure to much of the world’s MotoGP fans. Only his home fans get to see Pedrosa for himself. It’s doubtful that even those who have this access to the Spanish press – and speak the language – get the whole story. Unless you look close, it is easy to miss some facts about the man.

If you had read about the man – the person behind the helmet and off the track – the fact that Pedrosa is almost painfully shy would be self-evident. He is rather reserved – even quiet – and does not seek attention when he is away from his RC212V, at least not outside of his comfort zone.

To be fair, he has improved on this much over the last few seasons. Pedrosa even celebrated his 2009 Laguna Seca victory in fine style and wore a smile for hours after the race was over; he was uncharacteristically giddy and it made him look better. People still booed, believe it or not, but his fans drowned them out, fortunately (booing at a MotoGP race – sad but true back in 2009).

He did struggle at various points during the final events of 2009, but he finished third overall again and had other happy events along the way. This year he joined in even more pre-race festivities at the many stops of the MotoGP tour. When in California last year, he took the time to join Red Bull on several publicity events including some surfing and a ride in a vertical wind tunnel – like skydiving. Maybe the team’s PR specialist is finally pushing him to get out more?

It is possible that Pedrosa is maturing and starting to see that he needs to be more available to the fans to be seen as more ‘down-to-earth’. We all remember how fans felt about Max Biaggi; now that he is in the World Superbike paddock, he has lightened up a great deal. Biaggi and his Aprilia now have a World Championship. Could a #1 plate help Dani find more fans or at least change people’s minds about him? It certainly will not hurt.

Turing himself into a Rossi-like character would not be a wise move (Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo is doing that already – and now he is shooting t-shirts just like Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards), obviously. But, letting people into his world and being much more accessible will give the fans an opportunity to learn more about him and to see that he has been pushed very hard to perform at his best. His attitude at the track is due to that pressure.

As for Pedrosa, he could use to lighten up a bit and allow himself to enjoy his time abroad. He could smile a bit more, mug it up for the camera, or just give us a little dance once in a while. Any positive change in his behavior will win over more fans. He and his team, including Puig, need to work towards this goal. We know that they can do it – there is not much to it if you are genuine and real with people and secrets can stay secret.

If you are one of those who dislike Dani Pedrosa, why not give him a second chance? Why not take another look and assess his life and career based on his terms and the world in which he lives? Never forget that no one is perfect. And, in fact, most of us are pretty messed up.

All Pedrosa has done is what was expected of him. He has kept himself intensely focused and he has missed out on many of the normal parts of life to be where he is now. So what if he is not much of a smile person? Not everyone is. He is an accomplished racer and a great competitor who has almost always been in the top 3 in any class he has run within. Dani Pedrosa is a bit of an enigma, but don’t hold that against him. At the very least, give him the respect all who achieve his level deserve…and, maybe, a second chance to impress you.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Group Riding Etiquette – Rules for the Road

Safe Group RidingOwning a motorcycle is a way of life, so many bikers participate in group riding. Whether you’re riding with a group of friends, doing a cross-country road trip, or taking part in an organized motorcycle rally, there are several things to keep in mind when riding in a group.

Tips for Group Riding

  • Arrive prepared. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and that your bike is running smoothly.
  • Before setting out, hold a meeting where you discuss the route, rest and fuel stops, hand signals, and what to do in case of an emergency or if someone is separated from the group. That way everyone is on the same page before you even begin your ride.
  • Assign lead and tail riders who are experienced and knowledgeable in group riding. They are better equipped to deal with a sudden change of plans and can adapt more easily than less experienced group riders.
  • The group should have five to seven riders. More can make group riding harder, or even more dangerous. If you have a large group, you can break the riders up into smaller sub-groups, each with its own lead and tail rider.
  • Be prepared for anything. At least one rider in each group or sub-group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit.
  • There is a specific formation for group riding, which is designed to allow riders enough time to maneuver and react to hazards. The leader rides in the left-third of the lane. The next rider stays at least one second behind in the right-third of the lane. The rest of the group follows the same pattern, following in a single-file formation when on a curvy road or in situations where you may need more space or room to maneuver your bike. When riding single-file, you should increase the distance between you and the next rider to three-to-five seconds.
  • Do not ride side-by-side. Doing so reduces the space cushion and can be very dangerous.
  • Check your rear-view mirror from time to time to make sure riders are still following you and haven’t encountered any problems.
  • If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a plan in place to regroup. Whatever you do, don’t break the law or ride dangerously to catch up.

Group Riding Hand Signals

Take a look at these group riding hand signals and safety video recognized by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They will help you communicate with other riders in your group.


Have a Safe Group Riding Season

Knowing these group riding hand signals and tips for riding in groups can help you have a happy and healthy riding season. For more motorcycle safety guidelines, you can visit my law firm’s website at EdgarSnyder.com.

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