Niall Mackenzie Column - July 10

Many kind words of comfort for those involved in all walks of the throbbing motorsports industry. Thank the lord for the unbridled generosity of spirit of this prince among men

It was heartening to see Formula 1 become briefly interesting when Lewis Hamilton decided to try a few burnouts while leaving Albert Park in Melbourne. Since his father stepped down from his role as manager he’s become more of a rebel, and why not? Life would be very boring if we couldn’t skid around and pull stunts every once in a while.

Unfortunately the zero tolerance Aussie cops didn’t see it this way, impounding his C63 Mercedes and forcing him to hitch a lift back to his hotel. This kerfuffle reminded me of a Yamaha R1 launch in Sydney. A group of us were doing the usual tracking shots following a photographer in a car (he was hanging out the boot) along a quiet but scenic country road. When it was my turn to drive the Police jumped out from a bush and pulled me over to tell me there was a man in the trunk. I told the officer I knew this and that back in the UK this was pretty normal if all the seats inside were taken. You can do what you like in Pomland he said but in New South Wales this isn’t allowed – do it again and we’ll impound your car and lock you up. I gave them a friendly ‘fair dinkum’ but they still didn’t smile.

On that same trip we had a lunch stop on a hilltop restaurant overlooking Wayne Gardner’s home town of Woolongong.  As we pulled into the car park it was crawling with cops. We were told some stoned Aussie had tried to end it all by flooring his Holden Commodore over the adjacent mountainside. But he misjudged his take off spot and had soft landed in a thick forest. I bet the cops had fun getting that one to the pound.

I reckon the BBC lost a golden opportunity when Suzi Perry decided to hang up her (ear) muffs and microphone for a less hectic life. Suzi was accepted and welcomed by most of the GP paddock and had she been replaced by Randy Mamola (Who? Ed) I believe the BBC would have taken MotoGP to a new level.

From the day Dani Pedrosa jumped on a MotoGP bike I feared he would struggle to win a MotoGP title. Pound-for-pound he is as talented as any other rider on the grid but I have always suspected it would be his lack of pounds that would thwart a MotoGP challenge. Pedrosa dominated the 125cc and 250cc classes but while he’s had victories at the most physical of tracks in the big class (Donington, Laguna Seca and Valencia), he has been unable to slog it out race after race with the other three more muscular members of the so called ‘fantastic four’ (Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner). Being the number one rider at HRC he has obviously driven the development towards making the perfect, petite bike but this surely can’t be ideal for the other ‘standard size’ Honda riders.

Marco Simoncelli now looks bigger on the V4 Honda than he did on his 2009, 250cc Gilera. This is a rider who came close to matching WSB champion Ben Spies’ performance last year at Imola but I can’t see him getting anywhere close to the Texan in MotoGP until he’s given a bike that fits. I am a big Pedrosa fan so I hope he can prove me wrong. Only time will tell.

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