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GP Week : Issue 81
When Second Is Mo We Are The Cha Email us Something to say? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org The general view is that "second is just the first loser". But sometimes it's good to come second. It seemed that way for Dani Pedrosa at Jerez, anyway. Having led the race until the last half lap, one might expect him to be downcast. Instead he was full of giggles and grins. Clearly getting beaten, even by his deadly Spanish rival, was not enough to quench his happiness at having produced one of the best races of his life. Dani is a curious case. His gloomy reputation might seem well-deserved. Nobody on a grid front row or a top-three rostrum is as economical with the smiles as Dani. His taciturn responses and wintery smile made his habit of runaway wins (two per season) all the more austere. It all seemed so joyless, compared with the ebullience of Rossi or Lorenzo. Another facet drew increasing criticism. Dani only seemed able to run away. When called upon to fight, he seemed to prefer not to get involved. The Spanish Press dubbed him "the MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion FOR the past 13 years, Bridgestone has held an endurance karting event for the F1 press corps at a track close to the Circuit de Catalunya. As you can probably guess, there are many perks to this job (mostly involving open bars), but the annual media kart race is our most eagerly anticipated bun fight of the year. This week's editor's column isn't really an opinion piece -- it's a report on the most thrilling race of the weekend. For us, anyway... This year's event was to be the last. And, having never won it in the six years I've been competing, I was determined to do so before Bridgestone pulls out of the sport. It's not a solo effort, it's a team game, and therefore if you want to win you need to choose your team mates carefully. In the past, the podium had been ruled by former F1 drivers -- ringers -- who had been allowed to compete thanks to their (often tenuous) media roles. Fortunately, Anthony Davidson was racing at Spa last weekend, David Coulthard was doing the Mille Miglia, David Kennedy no longer come to races, Bas Leinders (usually the karting maestro) was somewhere else, and Marc Surer and Christian Danner didn't show either. So that left the coast clear. Autosport's Johnny Noble and Tony Dodgins invited Will Buxton (the previous Ed of GPWEEK, and now a telly tart) and I to join them. It was the dream team. The top prize was a tasty one -- dinner for the team at Joel Robuchon's restaurant at the Metropole hotel in Monte Carlo. We qualified fourth, but there was a twist -- a Le Mans-style running start. All those beers and pies have taken their toll and I dropped a place into turn one, but made it back within a couple of seconds. By the end of the first lap, I was in second and a second behind photographer Laurent Charniaux (who brought his own helmet, so he must be good). We had to swap drivers every ten minutes, and Laurent and I dived into the pits together. Noble was out next and quickly moved us ahead of the photographer's team. Once in front, we were gone... After 20 laps we were 14 seconds ahead of P2 and could already taste Robuchon's quail eggs. There's always the danger of a botched stop, a penalty, mechanical problems or a crash, so we had our fingers crossed throughout. On my opinion ADAM HAY- NICHOLLS GPWeek Editor Oh yeah -- Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Okay, so I am sure most European readers will have thought that the Spanish GP was a bit of a yawn. But believe me, we Australians were far from bored! The real motorsport fans out here have always recognised that our man Webber could match just about anyone, in equal cars, most of the time -- it's just that it has taken until this weekend for it to become crystal clear to even the most critical observer. Webber not only took pole and the start, he cleared away from the young star widely expected to be the next Schumacher, in equal cars. What a week for Australia -- first we take the World Snooker Championship away from the Poms; and now our man in Formula 1 delivers a telling blow to the critics (here and overseas). Beatiful work, Webber. More of the same this week in Monaco, please! Greg Laughton Bondi (where else!), Sydney, AUS What a fascinating point the F1 World Championship has come to after five rounds. Seven drivers within 20 or so points (that'd be 10 points in the old language) and, better still, Mark Webber puts on about the most professional, clear-cut win of the year -- certainly Webber's most devastating win to date. Yes, the Red Bull was the class of the field, but where was the young Uber-star in the other car? Exactly. Congrats Mark, we're all really pleased for you. Matthew Alderton Waverley, Melbourne, AUS Love that Moto ... Enjoyed your coverage of MotoGP's return to Europe. While Jorge Lorenzo was a treat, what a promising start for Moto2. Bring it on! Alan J Clark Middlesborough, UK 22