How many aliens do we now have in the MotoGP universe? Obviously there’s one: Jorge Lorenzo won with such ease today it was almost embarrassing. He retains his alien status. The recuperating Rossi obviously still belongs in the category of supernatural, but Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa’s status has been in doubt recently.
Pedrosa crashed yesterday and in Sunday morning warm-up, which can’t have helped his confidence or his knee but his race was a flashback to Qatar. There he got the holeshot then drifted back to seventh, this time ditto but he ended up eighth. Dani was completely perplexed, saying the feel with his hastily rebuilt bike just wasn’t there. As track temperature was eleven degrees up on yesterday, he went for the harder rear tyre but was mildly surprised when all the guys on soft tyres came past him. One of them was Casey Stoner who had such a bad start he was last into the first corner thanks to a grabbing clutch. He spent an inordinate amount of time at the back of the field before mounting a late charge that looked like it might get him a rostrum finish. It was truly impressive and the sort of thing you expect from an alien—Casey’s status remain intact. Dani’s condition is unclear to everybody, including Dani. One week he’s unbeatable, the next week he’s an also ran.
Both Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso have been knocking on the door all season but haven’t quite got there. Dovi’ had another solid ride and Nicky looked like he was on for his first rostrum of the year before he was mugged by Ben Spies on the last lap. Ben had the decency to say he felt bad about depriving a fellow American of a top-three finish, Nicky said that been had been riding hard all weekend and reminded everyone that he’d been saying all year that Spies would be a rostrum regular. None of which made his fourth fourth-place of the year any more bearable. Nor does the fact that the man who looks most likely to make it five aliens in MotoGP is Ben Spies.
By next year when all the building work is finished Silverstone is going to be one of the best facilities we go to.
The only downside to MotoGP’s return to Silverstone was the sight of just fifteen bikes starting the race, the smallest field since 1991. As well as the absent Rossi, we lost Hiro Aoyama after a morning highside; he is likely to be out for three months but the team expect to field another rider at Assen next week.
By the way, if you’re wondering if the title to these Ryder Notes is a play on the four aliens, it’s not. Lorenzo’s victory celebration was to dress up with three of his crew for a reconstruction of the Sgt Pepper’s cover…