No, not mine, Valentino Rossi’s. As I type this, it’s only just ticked over to the 17th in Europe so I’m only just a tad late. Yes, the great man turns 33 today. Surely the problems of 2011 must still be weighing on his mind along with the perplexing thought that the new 2012 bike is still over a second slower than Casey Stoner’s 2012 Honda. If 2012 turns out to be a repeat performance of 2011, don’t expect Vale to hang around in MotoGp too much longer. One of the most telling quotes of 2011 came from Steve Parrish, BBC commentator who said, in an unguarded, but overheard moment, “Vale is too old to risk his neck on a bad bike.”
And, happy birthday also (literally) to the latest addition to the Stoner family, Alessandra Stoner, born in Switzerland last night (our time). 2.8 kgs and both mum and dad doing well from all reports. I wonder how little Alessandra will feel in years to come when people remind her that she shares a birthday with Valentino Rossi.
Injuries are taking their toll in the off-season, almost to the last minute, it seems. David Salom from the Pedercini Kawasaki team is the latest to injure a hand in private testing at Phillip Island. Together with John Hopkins and Eugene Laverty (who says he will compete next weekend), injuries are affecting the complexion of next weekend’s event before it has even begun.
WSBK rumour-mongering mainly centres on Ducati’s intention concerning the new 1199 Panigale. I do wish that the pundits would read press releases, though. Some “fan” on Facebook last night asked why Checa is testing last year’s bike at PI this week. “Shouldn’t he be on the Panigale?” Actually, no, he shouldn’t. It has always been Ducati’s intention that the bike only be run in the Superstock class for 2012 and then moved up to the Superbike class in 2013. In fact, getting it into the Superstock field is going to be a last-minute rush as the bike isn’t even homologated for that class yet. FIM inspectors have yet to visit the Ducati factory and verify that Ducati have actually made 250 of the units in order for them to qualify as an entrant. They WILL, of course, the Italian organisers of the series will do whatever it takes to make sure of that.
In MotoGp, the calendar is not settled with the Portugese Grand Prix at Estoril being confirmed overnight. This event was in doubt due to monetary considerations but a rescue package has been put together. However, don’t expect to see Estoril on the calendar for too long. The FIM and DORNA are coming under considerable pressure to address the ridiculous and inequitable distribution of MotoGp events with 5 due for the Iberian Peninsula this year (4 in Spain alone.) Expect to see more “fly-away” events and less in Spain in years to come.
I’m trying to learn how to use my voice recorder in preparation for next weekend’s racing. It’s a complicated little beast of a thing. Maybe I should have gone with something simpler.