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13/04/2012 After the Qatar Race

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We have found a new talent in Romano Fenati from Ascoli. Just sixteen years old in January, the Team Italia rider was an impressive protagonist of the Moto3 race right from the start. He took the lead during the first half of the race, and was then overtaken only by Maverick Vinales. What a sight to see him ride along the tough Losail track, which he had never even seen! He was cool, clear-headed and really fast on bends without burring. We had not seen a young rider who could amaze us in Italy for quite some time. This is the good news, along with the news about Andrea Iannone in the Moto2 race, who achieved the same position, an excellent 2nd place, after a great race on the attack. The bad news is that our biggest phenomenon, Valentino Rossi, appears to be heading towards an early and surprising divorce from Ducati. His 10th place and, in particular, his harsh provocative comments during the post-race interview on Italia 1 television channel, seem to kill any remaining hope of restoring harmony with the engineers or catching up with the leaders. A “disaster”, this is the word; and no one can imagine that the second season on the Ducati could drag on any longer for months and months until the 18th race, with repeats of the first season. Nicky Hayden was 6th, just 28 seconds behind the winner Jorge Lorenzo. You may think it is a good result but Rossi is right when he denies it: the Ducati must do much better. As for number 46, he should accept (just like us) that the tests slowed him down to place him at the back of the grid, since you can clearly lose the thread when there is so much to do and try. But it is exasperating to discover that the Desmosedici is never capable of improving. What will happen now? Will the Borgo Panigale management and the sponsor try to pull things together again? We will have an initial response over the next few days. Much turmoil at Losail! Casey Stoner dominated the MotoGP at the start and then slowed down due to a new problem with his right wrist, Lorenzo won after having almost always done badly in the winter tests, Dani Pedrosa kept up a good pace, Marc Marquez won the Moto2 after a fatal winter without a motorbike. But he won with his usual bad habit of cutting across his opponent’s path immediately after overtaking, as we have already seen in the past. In my opinion, Luthi deserved to win and would have won: instead, he had to slow down on the kerb to avoid contact, braked too late, almost fell and finished in 5th place. The light punch he gave Marc’s arm during the lap of honour is totally justified. But those who believe that an official warning to Marquez is fair will be disappointed; the Swiss rider is more likely to be cautioned for that punch.

Nico Cereghini