Then, later, it was reported that MotoGP's race direction actually didn't see the illegal pass. Which I find quite interesting, because I think any half-awake fan watching it on television could clearly see Rossi's pass and the cornerworker in the background waving a yellow flag, and if you haven't, there's roughly nine-million screen grabs of the moment in question floating around the net. Judging by his body language during the incident, Nicky Hayden saw it, and even MotoGP's English-speaking announcers saw it, because they talked about it on the televsion telecast here in the US, and on the Internet broadcast. So, I mean, please, shag the feigned ignorance act already, okay? Yes, I am from Minnesota, which means I'm as gullible as they come, but you can't tell me that multiple persons in race control watching multiple screens in race control didn't see the illegal pass, and if that unlikely event actually happened, that they were not alerted by others on site as to the transgression.
That they say that they didn't see the illegal pass, but seem to indicate that they did see the all-is-forgiven Rossi yielding the position move and re-pass by Stoner, which never happened by the way, is something so diabolically wrong that I can't even bring myself to think about it for fear that if I do, my head will literally explode.
The people in MotoGP race direction are presumably professionals, men who had made their living in the pinnacle of motorcycle racing for decades before I came into this gig in the late 1980s. Yet they work from a rule book so riddled with holes any decent American club race rule book would put it to shame in terms of accuracy, rules and procedure. So, if the highly implausible story that they didn't see Rossi's pass is in reality true, that actually doesn't disturb me the most. What frightens me the most is that these vision-impaired people actually drive cars on public roads. LOOK OUT!
Gee, you don't actually think a group of Europeans in the paddock don't want Nick Hayden to win the championship simply because of his nationality and are orchestrating all of this ballyhoo, do you? It's no secret that Americans are not the most popular group of people outside of the USA. I'm not sure if it's because of the damage we did to popular music, dance and fashion in the disco era, or because our women are much better looking than women from other countries, or the foreign policy of the current administration, but it's not really breaking news that some people don't like Americans. No, that can't be what happening here.
The latest wet band-aid thrown at this situation by those in power is that because the incident happened in the race, that the rule book states the punishment for passing under a yellow must be taken in the race, and if it doesn't, well, too bad, then there can be no penalty. Sad deal, sorry Nick, better luck next time. Or, um, next year. This highly convenient hypothesis is in the rule book, they say, where it reads under the yellow flag section :In case of infringement of this rule during the race, the rider must go back the number of positions decided by the Race Direction. The penalty will be first communicated to the team and then a board will be displayed for the rider on the finish line during a maximum of 3 laps. If the rider did not go back after the board has been presented 3 times, he will be penalized by a ride through.
To people that believe this, that the above supports the 'must penalize during race' supposition, I will say this: that money you're saving for law schoolgo ahead and spend it. Blow it on a new sport bike or dames or a week in Vegas, because I have feeling you're going to be getting your ass thrown or blown out of courta lot. Saying that passage means the punishment must only happen in the race is an interesting interpretation...but, say, what about the last line of that section which reads In both cases, further penalties (such as fine - suspension) may also be imposed.. the phrase "further penalties" really opens a door, doesn't it? If the sanctioning body were to fine or suspend someone over a yellow flag infringment, they might do so after the race. In fact, there's probably past examples of them doing so after a race. Hence, the statements that they can't now penalize Rossi because it's after the race are simply wrong. If they can fine him or suspend him after the race, then they can easily bounce him back a few positions under the further penalties portion of the rule book, presumably even today. How much time would a ride through penalty at Phillip Island take? Anybody? A minute? Half a minute?
Well, I'm just not going to offer loads of criticism and moral assassination in this opinion column, I will actually offer a suggestion to those in power. Next time, instead of building an explanation on what some feel is a foundation of, at best, incompetence, perhaps you might consider actually relying on your decades of experience in racing and simply analyze the situation: It was a wet-ish track with mist and rain in the airhence it was hard for the riders to see; Rossi made the pass in the corner on the inside; the presumably Australian corner worker was on the other side of the apex of the corner, waving the flag while standing on the far side and behind the actual large corner station structure. (Was he flagging from the correct spot as outlined in the rule book? Because the guy in the flag station/observation area who would be clearly seen by the riders had no flag.) Rossi probably never saw the yellow flagabsolve him of personal guilt, but not from breaking the actual rule. Either during the race or afterwards, with an actual fact as your foundation, all you had to do was penalize Rossi by removing time from his race and then change the results if need be.
End of story.
End of need to construct highly suspect excuses that even first year fans have a hard time believing.
Honesty is, after all, the best policy.
If it doesn't challange you it won't change you
Only two ways to live life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.