April 11, 2006

More Pics from Qatar GP 06

Wow, what a weekend, and what a race! I was quite impressed with everyone, and Nicky Hayden didn't disappoint, either! The new '06 RC211V, or should I say, the '06.5, is quite different than the other Hondas, as the fairings have distinct differences, and there are other more important changes as well. If you look carefully in this photo, you can see the brake lever sparking! I just arrived back to BCN a few minutes ago, and now it's time for a shower and some lunch. I'll be back later to answer questions and post more photos.

The Hopper.

Here's a shot of Shinya Nakano. Rough weekend for Kawasaki, and Shinya got passed by KRJR in the race, but they still showed some promise for the rest of the season. I think it was incredible how many teams/people were able to improve on Friday's times on Saturday. . . and had Stoner not brought a flu bug with him from Australia, I think he would have been right up there in the mix.

Say, now that I think about it, anyone remember seeing a giant US Flag mounted near the final corner on the race footage? If you have a screenshot, post it up! This is the first time I'd jumped the track after a race (try that in the states!), and it was as far from a free for all as you could get. I think the riders were just plain exhausted from the race and the heat, but Nicky pulled over to shake hands. Sweet!

Here's a photo grouping I put together after a cool Barfer hooked me up with some screenshots!

Ominous, huh? The foulish weather continued through raceday, with 40MPH winds gusting over the track spreading sand. It was surprising sunny during the race, though, and I even got a little bit burned after the weekend.

Here's a nice example of some different body positions. The smaller guys definitely have to hang themselves out there to get the bike around the corners quickly, and the larger guys don't get so "head down". Note the Ducati, which as later photos will show, has a decidedly different handling characteristic to it.

Here's a few more shots. How do you guys like this style of photo montage? I would've just posted all of these separately, but that's a lot of pics! Since they are all relatively the same, I thought this might be an interesting way to show how the boys go round.

Looking at the pics, you can see that some guys lead with their rear, like Bayliss or Doohan did (is it an Aussie thing?), while others lead with their elbow. Some guys use both. . . and some guys win all the races.

I've heard a bunch of opinions concerning John Hopkin's reaction when his motor failed during the race (i.e. kicking the fairing a couple times out of frustration). As a mechanic, I've often wanted to throw a wrench when things didn't go right, so I know how he felt at the time. Personally, I think John is a really nice guy, and he's been riding the wheels off the Suzuki's for years now. Does one incident make him crazy, ungrateful, brash, and a poor sport? I don't know. I do know that he wants to win badly. See for yourself.

A nice example of contrasting styles.

My friend, Pedro Calvert, says that they're working on "Hip-Sliders". He speaks English very well, lives in the Tarragona vineyard area outside of BCN, and is dating an American girl who hails from the Sonoma vineyards outside of San Francisco.

Man-o-man, lots of right hand shots! Might as well post a few others I have.
Here's a shot of the focus KRJR exibits before a race. Wish I had the same focus, but my hand isn't that steady, har har.

Earl Hayden really wanted to hear the National Anthem after the race. The American one. I told him he just wanted another ride on the Honda. . .

Despite his illness, Stoner had a strong showing. Seems like he's priming himself for the season of his life. I can't wait to see how he does later this season, particularly at his home race in Australia. Years ago, Casey's father sold everything they owned, came to Europe with his son, and bought a motorhome which they lived out of. The mobile was parked at Alberto Puig's training ranch (which includes a full size motocross track with sixth gear WFO corners) where Casey began his career in the Movistar Cup and the Spanish 125 Nationals. Fast forward to now, where he's finally shaking it up with the big boys after going to 250 GP, back to 125 GP, back to 250, then to MotoGP! And he's only 20. I haven't put my finger on it yet, but when Aussies go racing, they really GO!!!!!!!

Compared to Casey's awesome weekend, Makoto Tamada and the Konica Minolta crew did not have much fun. James Ellison was happy to have beaten a Honda in the race (a first), and he hopes that it's the sign of things to come. I'm hoping the Tamada finds his "touch" and gets back in the thick of things. How special was it for him to win his home GP two years ago?

Here's a good profile view of the 06.5 RC211V, the "snub-nose", or "Brno-type".

Here's a fun photo grouping I put together to emphasize how exact these guys are, even when trying slightly different lines. I now have more Rossi pics than I know what to do with! The body positioning is always the same, lap after lap, session after session. I know I could probably put my logo right across the image (like, but I feel that if someone is going to "appropriate" one of my pictures, it'll come back to them in the form of a flat tire one day, or some other random and unhappy circumstance. Life is a Cycle, it goes round and round.

Jose Luis Cardoso is having a rough time of it on the Pramac D'Antin Ducati this year, but he took a moment to give a little wave. He might not have scored any points yet in the championship, but he gets major points for bringing his girlfriend to all the rounds. Not sure about that helmet design, though.

I had thought I was done shooting at the time, but heard a noise, whipped the camera up, and managed to catch the tail end of what was a long and proud wheelie into pit lane. I was very lucky in Qatar, and it was also nice because most of the riders took the time to give me a wave or a look when their practice/qualifying was over. Very gracious.

Last shot of the weekend for me was of the garages closing up after the post race press interviews. Many of the teams were packing up, but several stayed for additional testing. Colin Edwards was hard at work with his technicians trying to get his bike dialed in, and I expect some better results from him later this season.

One of the final birds to go to roost.

I like this one.

My current wallpaper (full size, of course).

Will Dani shine again in Turkey?

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