Sunday, July 31, 2011
Motocard.com Kawasaki rider David Salom has topped the first session of free practice for the World Supersport class at Silverstone, putting in a fast late lap to set the fastest time. Salom deposed Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Fabien Foret by just five hundredths of a second, who was in turn over a third of a second faster than Parkalgar Honda's Sam Lowes. Lowes was the first of a gaggle of British riders, Step Racing's Gino Rea in 4th and Bogdanka PTR's James Ellison 5th fastest. Current championship leader Chaz Davies was nearly two seconds off the pace of Salom, the ParkinGO Yamaha rider ending up in 11th.
Kawasaki Racing Team regular Chris Vermeulen will not be racing at Silverstone this weekend after a fall at Brno cut short his raceday in the Czech Republic and he has been advised to sit the UK Round out in order to be fully race fit for the next WSBK race at the N�rburgring on September 4.
Following his crash in free practice his elbow has still not regained full movement and strength as had been hoped in time for Silverstone. The team were thus faced again with the situation where he may be able to ride but will not be competitive and is far more likely to crash and sustain further injuries.
Kawasaki has therefore suggested to Chris that he should take an extended break between now and Nurburgring and ensure that he is fully recovered and fit enough to return safely and competitively at this time.
Vermeulen’s original knee injury has in fact continued to improve and his strength is now estimated at around 80%. The main problem remains his elbow that has damage to the ligaments after an infection to the wound and this needs daily treatment to reduce the calcification.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011
MotoGP Red Bull Rookies: Techer takes race two
Alan Techer, the 16 year old Frenchman, scored his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victory in the 2nd race of the German Grand Prix weekend at the Sachsenring. Chasing him across the line were two Germans, 15 year old Florian Alt ahead of 13 year old Willi Albert who was on the podium for the first time in his debut season.
It was another Rookies classic with 10 teens fighting for the lead including Cup leaders Arthur Sissis and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Points leader Sissis put in a great performance forcing his way through from his third row start and into the lead while Baldassarri struggled to get away from the back of the group. The terrible luck that saw Sissis miss out on points in the first race due to mechanical problems followed the 16 year old Australian into race 2 as he crashed at the penultimate corner clipping the rear of Alt's machine.
Italian 14 year old Baldassarri crossed the line 4th to take the points lead with 3 races remaining. ?It was a great race, I enjoyed fighting in the group. It was tough though, every time I was lining up a rider in front to overtake someone from behind would overtake me. It worked a little better in the last few laps and I got a good run down the hill on the last lap and thought about passing Willi (Albert) but it was too risky and I am happy for 4th, sorry for Arthur (Sissis) but a lucky weekend for me.?
A new track for Baldassarri but also for Techer who missed last year's event following his early season injury. ?I am so thrilled to win the race, I was unhappy to miss out on the podium yesterday after such a tough race and leading. I had trouble with the bike yesterday the rear was sliding too much. But I realised it wasn't the bike it was me, I just wasn't using the right lines, we didn't change the bike, I adapted and it worked well. I was a bit worried at one point when I saw a few drops of rain on my visor but they went away and I was so determined not to be passed on that last lap.?
Alt shrugged off his Saturday fall. ?That's history, I didn't think about it. I didn't make a good start but I settled in, I looked at the TV screen and saw we were all one big group so I just said to myself, 'cool it' and I relaxed a little then started working my way forward. By about lap 7 I got up to the front and then we had a great fight. On the last lap, going into the last 2 corners I was looking for a way past Alan but Arthur hit me and I was a bit too far back to try anything at the last corner.?
It was not only the first podium for Willi Albert but his first finish in the top 10. Not surprisingly he was thrilled and a bit lost for words. ?What a great race, a great fight, we were all passing at every corner, then on the last lap Arthur crashed in front of me and I got lucky with a place on the podium.?
Albert's good fortune was a disaster for Sissis who explained it simply. ?I was running through the corner looking for a good drive out but the guys in front had backed up and there was no missing Alt, I couldn't do anything about it.?
Another who could view the race with almost equal disappointment was Brad Binder, the 15 year old South African who finished 9th. He was right at the front looking to go one better than 2nd from Saturday's race until his petrol tank came loose. ?That's my fault,? said his father who looks after the bike. ?He was riding so well. Still it's great to see him up at the front again this weekend.? Brad was philosophical about it. ?I am happy with the way I am riding again and looking forward to the last races. These things happen, I might even get a new phone out of dad on the way home,? he concluded with a grin.
Saturday's winner Philipp Oettl was another who looked very much a potential winner leading for the first 6 laps. The 15 year old German did not make any excuses. ?I didn't do a good job today,? was his only comment.
Going into the last 3 races of the year Baldassarri has a 6 point lead over Sissis with Techer and Oettl also still in with a mathematical chance of wining the Cup. The next races are at the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic on August 13th and 14th
Repsol Honda victory and another double podium in Sachsenring
The Repsol Honda Team dominated the German Grand with 101,309 spectators at Sachsenring witness to an incredible battle for the win between Pedrosa, Stoner and Lorenzo, with Dani Pedrosa finally clinching victory. An exciting fight for fourth between Dovizioso, Simoncelli and Spies saw Dovizioso coming out on top to finish fourth.
It was a great race for Dani Pedrosa who returns to the top step of the podium at only his second race after having missed three races due to an injury to the right shoulder. The Repsol Honda rider today sealed his second win of the 2011 season and his fifth Grand Prix victory at the Sachsenring circuit (three wins in MotoGP class, and two in 250cc). On lap twenty, Dani also broke his own Circuit Record Lap record here at Sachsenring with a 1'21.846.
Championship leader Casey Stoner celebrated a seventh successive podium finish today, a personal record in MotoGP class. He led the race for nine laps but was unable to match the pace of Pedrosa and was robbed of second place at the very last corner by Jorge Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso had an exciting duel with Marco Simoncelli, finally finishing ahead of him in fourth and retaining his third position in the Championship standings.
The Repsol Honda Team will have no time to rest, as they pack all the race equipment tonight and leave for the United States tomorrow. The U.S GP hosted at the fascinating circuit of Laguna Seca will take place next Sunday, July 24th.
"It's an incredible feeling to be back and win a race so early; I didn't expect it, but this circuit has been always very good for me and I made it happen. I was already surprised yesterday with second position in qualifying and to finish the weekend in this way is amazing, a huge relief for me after a very hard time with injuries. Here I suffered less than in Mugello because of the layout, but in the race today I had a strange feeling, something I've never had before. At the beginning of the race I wasn't feeling great on the bike, I was fourth but I didn't get nervous or worried because I'm still not mathematically out of the Championship battle, but I know it's almost impossible. So, I just let the laps pass and in the middle of the race, with less fuel in the tank and when the tyres started sliding, I decided to step it up a little and it worked perfectly. I'm very happy with this victory, I've been suffering a lot even though this race track is not physically demanding, because I'm still weak. So a big thanks to my family and doctors that helped me to be back here because they all know how hard it has been. Also to my team and to all my fans that never gave up, they deserve it also."
"We knew today would be a hard race, we found a good set up yesterday in qualifying but we had an issue with the rear tyre and the temperatures getting too high, with it spinning too much. We took it easy in the early part of the race and thought we'd try to preserve the tyre and warm it up slower than we did in Mugello. After a few laps I decided to make a move to the front to see what we could do and we were able to pull a small advantage, but too small compared to the effort we were putting in so I backed off on my pace a little and tried to stay as smooth as possible and see what happens. They came past me and Dani was riding so strong and was able to get past Jorge before I got there, he built a small advantage and by the time I got past Jorge and I struggled to chase him down. I made a few small mistakes and that left just Jorge and I for the last few laps. I tried everything I could, riding the cleanest lap possible and trying to block my line, but Jorge came up on the dirty part of the track and I thought it would be too high a risk but he made it stick and I have to settle for third place. I'm still leading the Championship and I'm thankful for the points here today."
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Lorenzo and Spies save it for the last lap in Sachsenring Thriller
The Grand Prix of Germany provided some of the most exciting racing yet this season as Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies kept it to the last corner to deliver second and fifth places respectively.
Mugello race winner Lorenzo spent the entire 30 lap race distance embroiled in a battle at the front with Championship leader Casey Stoner and fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. Having retained second off the grid, the Yamaha Factory rider passed Stoner with 17 laps to go. As the laps counted down Lorenzo conceded first to Pedrosa then second to Stoner before coming back with a stunning pass on the last corner of the last lap to steal second place back at the line.
Spies dropped one place to sixth off the start line, the Texan battling with a lack of grip that prevented him from closing down the front group early on. A consistent pace for the majority of the race saw a lonely ride holding position until his patience paid off as Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso were gradually reeled in. The fighting of the two in front made it difficult to make a pass on the twisty track. Spies held off until the last corner on the last lap to pass Simoncelli for fifth, echoing his team mate?s pass on Stoner just seconds earlier at the same spot.
Denying Stoner second place means Lorenzo has taken a step to close the Championship lead down, trailing by just 15 points with a total of 153 as they head to Laguna Seca. Team mate Spies holds onto sixth position, now just 13 points behind Valentino Rossi in fourth.
?I?m very happy! It has been a fantastic race today. From the middle of the race I got very tired in my left hand so I didn?t know where I could find the strength to push and keep pushing to the end. Then Casey stopped the bike a lot two corners from the end so I took advantage of it, opened the throttle full stand in the last corner I went for it. It was a miracle pass! This race is very important so we are very proud and happy with the result. I have to thank my Yamaha crew who worked very hard to give me a fast bike all weekend, they have been fantastic.?
?Unfortunately I got to the front group a little too late but I tried as hard as I could. I just lacked some rear grip in the beginning, I tried to be consistent and hope they came back to me because I couldn?t run the pace they were running in the beginning. Lap time wise it was probably the most consistent I?ve ever done in a race. We caught up to them with three laps to go and then all hell broke loose. Simoncelli started trying to find a way past Dovizioso and every time I tried to look to go past one of them was on one side of the track and the other on the other side. It was fair play, they were racing each other but it kind of messed up my game plan! Simoncelli ran wide at the end so I got him again in the last corner. I wish we could have got Dovizioso because we had the pace, we just ran out of laps.?
Strong seventh for Suzuki?s Spaniard at Sachsenring
�lvaro Bautista gave Rizla Suzuki its best dry result of the season so far with a brave and competitive performance in Germany today, for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
Starting from 10th on the grid, Bautista knew a good start was required and by the end of the first lap he had moved up into ninth place. Over the next two laps he became involved in what turned out to be a race-long battle with the Ducati?s of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. The trio swapped places many times over the remainder of the race, but Bautista saved his best till last. He produced his quickest lap of the race on the penultimate lap and then badgered and passed both Rossi and then Hayden on the final corner to take a well deserved, but hard-fought seventh.
Bautista chose the softer option of the Bridgestone race tyres today as the track temperatures and overcast, but humid conditions gave him the confidence to use the softer rubber. The 101,309 spectators at trackside were not only treated to the three way battle involving Bautista, but action throughout every part of the 30 lap race.
?I am happy with today?s result because it was a fun race and I am quite pleased with where we finished. At the beginning I had to try and get a good start, because in the first corner you have to be very careful with other riders. I got a decent start and was in a good position just behind the top riders, but I was a bit too far away from them, and my rhythm wasn?t quite as quick, so I couldn?t quite stay with them. I got involved with the two Ducati guys and really enjoyed the race with them. At the end it was very difficult to overtake Valentino and Nicky because they brake very hard and very late, making it tough to get past. On the last lap I overtook Valentino at the end of the main straight. I then followed Nicky and waited for the last two corners because I knew I had an opportunity there to get him. I had to brake with everything I had to get past him on corner 12, but I ran a bit wide and lost some speed, Nicky overtook me on the last corner, but he entered too quickly and he went out, so I got past him on the exit of the corner. I am very happy that we are the first finisher after the top six because they are on a different level at the moment. For the next race I hope to continue with this way of working and get closer to the top.?
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
?I think we showed this weekend at Sachsenring - a track that has traditionally been very tough for Suzuki - that both the GSV-R and the rider have made good steps in 2011, despite the bad luck and huge injury at the start of the season. The high-speed crash that �lvaro suffered at the end of warm-up this morning was not ideal race preparation and it might have had a small effect on his ultimate pace, but nonetheless he dug deep and a rode a very entertaining and aggressive 30-laps. Maybe with a better qualifying position, which we have to keep working on, or with a luckier first couple of laps, he might have been able to tow along on the back of the fastest riders. We won?t know if that could have been the case until we get the opportunity again at Laguna Seca next week. It was an incredibly competitive race today, all the top riders finished and we were beaten by only the four Factory Hondas and the two Factory Yamahas - this weekend has definitely been a step in the right direction.?
Dani Pedrosa emerged victorious from a three way race long battle for first, with Jorge Lorenzo stealing second from Casey Stoner on the last corner.
Repsol Honda?s Pedrosa had his usual great start, taking the hole shot ahead of Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Stoner (Repsol Honda) at the start of the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland MotoGP race in what was to be a 30 lap fight to the finish at the Sachsenring circuit. The Spaniard?s win is his fifth Grand Prix victory at the Sachsenring circuit and only his second race after returning from surgery for his broken collarbone.
At the end of lap one, Lorenzo was in the lead ahead of the three Repsol Honda?s of Pedrosa, Stoner and Dovizioso, who fought amongst each other for second until the Australian made his attack on lap 5 to take the lead, only to have Lorenzo regain the lead status a few laps later. The Mallorcan then tried desperately to defend his line, until lap 21 when Pedrosa got a huge drive out of the last corner to launch himself into the lead for the last time.
Meanwhile a three man battle for fourth ensued behind the leaders between Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), out of which Italian Dovizioso crossed the line first 2 tenths of a second in front of American rider Spies and 4 tenths ahead of fellow countryman Simoncelli.
Another intense fight starred �lvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and the two Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. Bautista crossed the line seventh with Hayden less than a tenth of a second behind the Spaniard and Rossi just 6 thousands behind the American, with of Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha Monster) following the trio in tenth.
H�ctor Barber� (Mapfre Aspar) had an off-track excursion in the early stages of the race, who then staged a great comeback from the back of the pack to finish eleventh, in front of Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing).
Stoner leads the championship with 168 points, just 15 points ahead of Lorenzo. In third is Dovizioso with 132 points.
Pole starter Casey Stoner strengthend his place at the top of the MotoGP field by posting the fastest time in the morning warm up session ahead of the ahead of the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland race.
Repsol Honda?s Casey Stoner set a lap of 1'22.132 to put him first of the field in the MotoGP warm up at Sachsenring, after setting pole the previous day for his sixth time this season. The Australian was 0.177s ahead of third place starter Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and 0.280s faster than team mate Dani Pedrosa.
�lvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) set the fourth fastest time, a 1?22.555, before he crashed out of the warm up session, with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), who starts from the second row, in fifth and Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) 0.016s behind the Italian in sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) posted a time of 1'22.765 to rank him seventh, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) rounding out the top ten. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) slightly improved his best time from yesterday to finish eleventh with a 1?23.260.
Friday, July 29, 2011
My friend Alan Hanson writes a wonderful blog about Elvis Presley. The Elvis-History-Blog is well researched and it?s full of interesting and informative articles.
Above is Alan?s blog for this week. He and I have often come up with similar ideas, but usually they are years apart after time has dulled our memory of the other?s work. This week we both independently decided to do a blog on Elvis? hair. One thing I especially like about Alan?s story is this quote by Red West from his book Elvis, What Happened?: ?That hair has always been [Elvis?] crowning glory. I have never known any other human to take more time over his hair. He would spend hours on it, smoothing, mussing it up and combing it and combing it again.?
With that much concern for his hair, you would think Elvis had nothing but good hair days. However, as you will see here, he had some bad days, too. Also included are some shots where you might have to think about whether you would label them bad hair of good hair days for Elvis.
Here are two easy ones. Mid-seventies Elvis looked good in his long hair and enormous sideburns. The picture on the right looks pretty rough, but in fairness to Elvis, it was taken after a strenuous karate workout. A good shower and shampoo plus some of that relentless smoothing and combing certainly had it looking sharp again.
Here are two young Elvis shots. In that iconic photo on the left, that we have all seen many times, it looks like Elvis worked on his hair quite a bit. Larry Geller, Elvis? long-time hairdresser, has written about how unruly his hair was. In the second photo, it looks like Elvis? hair had a mind of its own and rebelled about being slicked into place.
Speaking of slicked down hair, how do you like the left shot? Red West also wrote, ?The handfuls of Vaseline he put on it made it look much darker than it was.? Elvis had a few handfuls on his hair the day this photo was snapped. The other picture shows Elvis with a more natural look.
Most folks would agree that Elvis never looked better than when he appeared in the ?68 Comeback Special. However, after several hours of filming, his hair was falling in his face a good bit. I don?t care. He still looks great to me. A quick look at the picture with Tom Jones makes it seem Elvis had a huge mop of hair. Look closely, and you can see that much of it is just the shadow from the photographer?s flashbulb.
Here are two photos of Elvis in Hawaii, one from 1973 and one from 1956. He looks to have been outside in both shots, but the wind was probably blowing only in the 1956 shot.
The wind most likely was responsible for this unusual look to Elvis? hair as he captained a boat on vacation. It seems like Priscilla wasn?t too keen on having sea air blowing through her hair.
Here?s another photo of Elvis and Priscilla, plus cute little Lisa. There are some other photos from this family setting floating around on the internet, and Elvis? hair looks good in all of them.
This is a Photoshopped picture. You can tell the sunglasses were added, because Elvis did not wear this type sunglasses in the 70s. They are not like the custom designed models he favored and spent a lot of money on. The hair is real, however, and it was a good hair day when the original photo was taken.
� 2011 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
If you follow the news, you certainly know about the cell phone hacking scandal involving the British tabloid News of the World. When billionaire publisher Rupert Murdock saw how bad the mess was, he took the drastic step of closing down his paper.
The current issue of Time Magazine has a cover story that digs into the history of Murdock and his media empire. One illustration for the story was a shot of his six tabloid papers.
When I saw that one of them was The Star, I remembered my collection of supermarket tabloids with cover stories about Elvis. Dozens of them came out in the two years after Elvis died, including at least nine published by The Star. That?s how many I purchased years ago from an aging Elvis fan. Here they are in the order of their appearance.
September 6, 1977 September 20, 1977
October 25, 1977 December 20, 1977
January 31, 1978 May 2, 1978
August 15, 1978
November 28, 1978
April 10, 1979
As you can see by the cover story titles, these issues of The Star treated Elvis in a sympathetic and positive manner -- themes like family, wedding photos, love letters, and Christmas. Priscilla is pictured prominently on four of the covers. The only cover story that disappoints me is the first one ? Elvis: What Happened.
That is of course the title of the hatchet job book authored by three Elvis body guards and released just two weeks before his death. The Star printed an excerpt from one of the most gruesome sections in the book. A sub-title across the top of one page said, ?Elvis was sprawled across the bed, gasping? the girl?s eyes were like glass marbles.? You get the idea.
However, this was followed by a beautiful two-page pictorial tribute showcasing seven large color shots of Elvis though the years. I wondered why they would diminish this nice feature with the junk from the book. Then I noticed a footnote. It said that Elvis: What Happened? was copyrighted by World News Corp, which was owned by Rupert Murdock.
Murdock had an uncanny knack for knowing how to make money, so we shouldn?t be surprised he was behind that sorry expos� about Elvis. It?s a good thing cell phone technology wasn?t around during the 70s, or Murdock?s minions probably would have hacked into Elvis? phone looking for more dirt.
� 2011 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.