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GP Week : Issue 127
NICKY HAYDEN – MARLBORO DUCATI Battling on manfully in the shadow of his team-mate, Hayden has out-qualified him five times and beaten him twice, deviating from the script. He is also a victim of machine problems. Ten out of ten for effort, in trying circumstances. COLIN EDWARDS – MONSTER TECH 3 YAMAHA Twilight of a long career, but the mouthy Texan impressed with his brave comeback from injury to the rostrum at the British GP. A rare event nowadays, with results become erratic and still no race win. But Edwards remains an important member of the class. ALVARO BAUTISTA – RIZLA SUZUKI Injury before the season started made things hard, but Bautista remained cheerful and plucky, in spite of working alone in the one-rider team with a bike that is perennially on the back foot. He started to make some headway by mid-year, CAL CRUTCHLOW – MONSTER TECH3 YAMAHA It’s never easy for new boys. Crutchlow came in bullish, but has had some sobering experiences that have shown him it’s not as easy as all that. We await the return of his fighting spirit. Press-on style needs more polishing. KAREL ABRAHAM – AB CARDION DUCATI Rich father bought his place in the class and nobody expected anything. Far from fannying around, the Czech university student has buckled down and produced good lap times and races, and is earning his place at the top table. SATISFACTORY HECTOR BARBERA – MAPFRE ASPAR DUCATI Following a very consistent debut year, Barbera has done nothing wrong in his second. But nor has he done anything to show he’s reached another level. More was expected, but there is still time. MUST TRY HARDER HIRO AOYAMA – SAN CARLO HONDA Last-ever 250 Head Prefect has had a tough time, but team chief Fausto Gresini accused him of losing interest at the last race. HRC favourite or not, he needs to pick it up. TONI ELIAS – LCR HONDA Rejoined the school after becoming Head Prefect among the Moto2 day boys. Sad to see him struggling: his unique riding style won’t work with the control tyres. Living on borrowed time, unless something changes radically before the end of the year. LORIS CAPIROSSI – PRAMAC DUCATI Old man of the grid has been right at the back of the class in his disappointing return to Ducati, contributing much to his team’s frustration. He got hurt at Assen without having made any impression, and starts the second part of the year well off form. RANDY DE PUNIET – PRAMAC DUCATI The other component of his team’s despair, de Puniet has brought courage and determination with him in his switch to Ducati. But he can’t seem to stop falling over. Discretion required, or he will never be able to make the most of his other strengths. ‘MIKE HAILWOOD’ AWARD FOR SPORTSMANSHIP VALENTINO ROSSI – MARLBORO DUCATI Former head boy gets the headmaster’s special award for smiling through his struggles with the Ducati. At times (Silverstone for one) he’s seemed close to giving up in practice, but he always races hard, and Rossi has remained cheerful throughout. There may be agony behind the scenes, but this popular prefect is a credit to good sportsmanship. SICK NOTE DANI PEDROSA – REPSOL HONDA Pedrosa’s speed and ability are the equal of anybody on his day, and his willingness to fight has become a strong feature rather than a conspicuous weakness. He undermined it all by lingering in the saick bay with an injury that other riders regularly shrug off. Can be unbeatable, when he’s in the mood. DETENTION WARNING MARCO SIMONCELLI – SAN CARLO HONDA Every boy goes through a stage. Simoncelli needs to move on. Blindingly fast, he is troubled by notions of immortality and doesn’t know when to stop pushing. You can teach a boy to stop crashing but you can’t teach him to be fast. Detention awaits any further indiscretion. MOTOGP FEATURE >> KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK