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GP Week : Issue 41
>>Moto GPQATAR Hubris on two wheels WHAT grand and noble themes were evoked by the MotoGP non-race at Qatar. From the Bible to the New Age Gaia creed, encompassing Greek and Norse mythology, Sunday night was also a magnificent illustration of the great themes of classical drama. It illustrated the concepts of both tragedy and comedy, as well as bathos (an unintentional shift from the sublime to the ridiculous) and pathos (arousing emotions, especially pity or sorrow). And, most especially, hubris. Hubris (thank you, web) is variously defined as “overweening pride, self- confidence, superciliousness, or arrogance”, and as the quality that “leads the protagonist to break a moral law, attempt vainly to transcend normal limitations or ignore a divine warning … with calamitous results.” It has been our assertion from the beginning that the whole multi- million dollar illumination of the Losail circuit was a gigantic folly: a vanity staged purely for one-upmanship. For the Qataris, they beat their cash-rich Arab neighbours (especially Dubai) with the first floodlit circuit and the first floodlit World Championship Grand Prix. For Dorna’s MotoGP, it was a chance to engage in night racing before Formula 1. Both were very boastful about it. Right up until Sunday’s providential desert storm. We also reported last year that rain would scupper proceedings. This was already official policy: the riders’ unilateral “we won’t race”decision taken in an advance of this year’s second floodlit GP was way in arrears, quite redundant. Well, rain in the desert? Ha ha ha! Can you see a single green thing anywhere, other than the circuit astroturf? Talk about a snowball’s chance in hell. But in fact it does rain surprisingly often in Qatar (though nobody told the plants). Raindrops rich in grains of desert sand, washed out of the hazy atmosphere on the way. So when it does dry, it leaves a sandy residue on every surface. Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 DNF MotoGP| Round 1 QataR # Rider 27 46 99 5 4 15 7 36 24 14 3 69 59 33 72 52 88 65 Casey Stoner Valentino Rossi Jorge Lorenzo Colin Edwards Andrea Dovizioso Alex De Angelis Chris Vermeulen Mika Kallio Toni Elias Randy De Puniet Dani Pedrosa Nicky Hayden Sete Gibernau Marco Melandri Yuki Takahashi James Toseland Niccolo Canepa Loris Capirossi Team Ducati Marlboro Team Fiat Yamaha Team Fiat Yamaha Team Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Repsol Honda Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Pramac Racing Ducati San Carlo Honda Gresini LCR Honda MotoGP Repsol Honda Team Ducati Marlboro Team Grupo Francisco Hernando Hayate Racing Team Scot Racing Team Honda Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Pramac Racing Ducati Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Time 42:53.984s +7.771s +16.244s +24.410s +27.263s +29.883s +33.627s +34.755s +39.481s +42.284s +48.526s +48.883s +52.215s +56.379s +1:00.286s +1:14.978s +1:15.028s +15 Laps Points – MotoGP: Stoner 25, Rossi 20, Lorenzo 16, Edwards 13, Dovizioso 11, De Angelis 10, Vermeulen 9, Kallio 8, Elias 7, De Puniet 6, Pedrosa 5. 250cc: Hector Barbera 25, Jules Cluzel 20, Mike Di Meglio 16, Hiroshi Aoyama 13, Raffaele De Rosa 11, Thomas Luthi 10, Alvaro Bautista 9. 125cc: Andrea Iannone 12.5, Julian Simon 10, Sandro Cortese 8, Pol Espargaro 6.5, Bradley Smith 5.5, Jonas Folger 5, Nicolas Terol 4.5. 29 Why does MotoGP race at night? Michael Scott MotoGP editor Not that it was going to dry in a hurry on Sunday, even if Musco Lighting had been able to switch their 3,000-plus lights into gigantic hairdryers. A storm of such proportions is a genuine rarity on the Arabian peninsula. A reminder even of the desert floods of biblical fame. And particularly focused: it swept past to screw up the 125 race and truncate the 250s, then returned at precisely the moment the MotoGP riders had just selected first and prepared to engage the clutch. Let’s recap the facts. Because Losail has lights, that’s why. No other really worthwhile reason. And why does Losail have lights? Because it can have lights! Not only can they afford the installation, with gas at a few pence per litre they can afford to keep them lit. Just having them fitted proves all these things, with a light signature clearly visible from space, and a carbon footprint to match. The very act of racing at night, on proper specialised racing motorcycles without headlights or any other provision, is a challenge to … the gods, if you like. Or to God. Or to the universe. An act of arrogant and supercilious defiance to nature. On Sunday night, nature responded. To MotoGP just as to F1 a week before at Sepang, the universe spoke back. opinion