The unfortunate death of Marco Simoncelli cast a pall over the 2011 Malaysian MotoGP and the wider world of motor sport. Inside Line's thoughts are with the Italian's family as it takes you behind the scenes at Sepang for an alternative look at the weekend just past...
When the race comes to town, everyone gets into the swing of MotoGP. From the guy on the full Valentino Rossi replica Yamaha, complete with leathers and helmet (which stands out even more being seemingly the only superbike on the road out here) who’d been stopped for speeding on the way to the circuit, to this guy. Not quite sure the machinery’s up to it, but you’ve got to admire the determination!
Walking the red carpet
Malaysia is the only GP all year where local photographers wait excitedly at the paddock gate for the MotoGP stars to make their grand entrances, complete with the hardcore, but oh-so-polite, Japanese fans. Not quite Hollywood.
The walking [riding] wounded
After his big accident during the Japanese Grand Prix three weeks ago, Hector Barbera returned from a broken collarbone in Malaysia in the way that only motorcycle racers can. Outwardly it was difficult to notice any sign of surgery, but under his shirt is a seriously impressive scar. That’s him set for Halloween.
Slippery when wet
A brief and very localised deluge that affected just turn ten on Friday during the first Moto2 practice wreaked havoc with the field. Marc Marquez went down and was ruled out of the race, and so too did Bradley Smith. Smith rolled and skidded into Marquez’s bike, breaking his collarbone and badly bruising a lung. So where was he the very next day? Why, back at the circuit of course.
When Q&As go bad
At a local media event the team were holding in Kuala Lumpur, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were not given a moment’s rest bombarded as they were with questions from the excitable floor. Until one journalist gave Vale pause by asking, quite seriously: ‘Could you go any slower?’ He won’t be invited back.
The roads in Asia are crazy, a quick Google Image search will attest to that. It took only until Friday, the first proper day of the GP weekend, for the first motorcycle crash on the road leading into the circuit. Fortunately he was ok, but who did the guy crash into? The Dorna bus, full of paddock people. Still, he earned a GP ticket for his troubles!
It’s a barren time for the Yamaha Factory team. Both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies missed the Australian GP last weekend through injury, and Lorenzo opted to sit out Malaysia too to aid his recovery. Spies crashed twice in Malaysia and also chose to withdraw, leaving Lorenzo’s replacement, Katsuyuki Nakasuga, as their lone representative in the Yamaha test rider’s very first MotoGP race.