Sunday, March 30, 2008

Motorin' ... and driving through the night

Moto GP's first round this year, in Qatar, was the first night race held in the world's premier motorcycle racing series. My impression? Sorta cool, no big deal though.

As for the action, reigning champ Casey Stoner picked up right where he left off last year, coasting to a win on his Ducati. Behind him it was pretty entertaining though, with some new guys dicing it up with veterans.

The pictured rider is rookie Jorge Lorenzo, who's teaming with four-time series champ Valentino Rossi — "The Doctor" — for Yamaha. Lorenzo was impressive, taking the pole and beating his teammate by finishing second. Rookie Andrea Dovizioso was also impressive, beating out Rossi for fourth on the last lap. And the new Tech3 Yamaha team with Texan Colin Edwards and Brit James Toseland, over from World Superbike, looked strong on some sweet blue and yellow bikes.

After Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden got buried down the running order, I was pulling for the Tech3 guys, but also Lorenzo. Yes, because he was a rookie dicing with the vets (and I do mean dicing, that's him at 30 seconds blowing past Toseland and Rossi), but also because I liked his helmet. Yes, many times it's that simple with me.

One of the coolest things about racing, for me, is the whole graphic design appeal of the cars, bikes, uniforms, whatever. Specifically, I dig helmet designs. The big symbol on the top of Lorenzo's helmet looked like a corporate logo, but I thought maybe he was maybe using such a look for his own design purposes, which would have been cool. Outside of Nascar and guys riding with Red Bull and Monster energy drink sponsorships, you usually don't see anything that blatant.

But nope, Chupa Chups is a Spanish lollipop company. It still looks cool, though. Maybe if I was Spanish like Loranzo and saw it all the time I wouldn't think so, but I'm not, so it looks cool.

I guess there's not a whole lot of future in racers appropriating corporate logos for fun when they're all trying to get real sponsorship, but they could create designs that look like advertising but not specific logos and trademarks.

Anyway, round 2 is today in Jerez, Spain with Lorenzo sitting on poll again. If he takes his home race in his second GP expect to hear a lot more about him. If you pay attention to motorcycle racing.

This guy looks like he's rooting for Rossi, though.

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