Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 27 July 9

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 106 of 109

CN III IN THE PADDOCK P108 BY MICHAEL SCOTT A RISK TOO FAR? J orge Lorenzo's performance at Assen was a landmark of courage and achievement. And what else? It raises uncomfortable questions about the nature of the sport, and the nature of those who take part in it – not the riders, but everyone else, from officials to mechanics to the fans. Us, in other words. Firstly, big respect to Jorge, who added another facet to his already unearthly reputation - a superhuman recovery from an all-too-human error. It took just three days from start to finish: beginning with the mistake. The evening before Lorenzo had made another mistake: announcing to the assembled press and his rivals that "Probably I now I am in the best shape I have ever been in my career." This sort of remark often has a sting in the tail. On Thursday afternoon he proved it, when he misjudged the effect of a slowly growing puddle, touched a white line, and was thrown over the handlebars at 176 mph to land heavily on his left shoulder. The consequences were painful: a displaced fracture to the collarbone. Everyone knew what that meant: reconstructive surgery with plates and screws, and a courageous return in two weeks' time in Germany. Lorenzo had another idea. No time was wasted. Within hours he was en route to Barcelona in a chartered plane, and less than 12 hours after crashing he was out for the count on the operating table, with the sawbones hard at work. At 4 a.m. he was out of the operating room, at lunchtime he was checked over and passed fit for travel, and by evening he was back at Assen. And next day, back on the Yamaha M1, and in the early part of the race lapping close to the times of the leaders as he forged from 12th on the grid to fifth over the line. The race started 37 hours after he'd been anaesthetized. Pale and heavily strapped after the race, he told Spanish pressmen: "I am not a crazy person. I think riders are not crazy people. We know exactly if we are fit or not to race." Lorenzo would say that. So would (and in fact did) say all the other riders. You wouldn't expect anything else. The courage required to climb on a 250-plus horsepower MotoGP bike then race it against the best in the world, weekend after weekend, is a big reason why we admire them so much. We have seen similar feats in the past, and they likewise evoke a feeling of awe at the courage, commitment and determination. Kevin Schwantz riding at Assen with a freshly broken wrist springs to mind. He finished fifth, funnily enough: afterwards in the pit, grimacing in agony, I recall Dr. Costa dropping to one knee beside him and saying perhaps the only English words he knew: "I love you." The doctor was with Lorenzo also as he entered his

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