Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 34 August 25

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 128 of 131

P128 CN III IN THE PADDOCK BY MICHAEL SCOTT T he sight of Dovi, Mir and Miller on the Red Bull Ring podium being "protected" from the prize-givers after the first of two races in Austria with careful don't-touch-me congratu- lations and conscientious social distancing was one of the more bizarre moments of a bizarre weekend. It was the climax of a day of maximum scares and whisker- close escapes from ghastly ac- cidents—bikes and bodies flying through the air, missing each other by millimeters. But hey, let's don't take any unnecessary risks here, guys. The first of two GPs at the speedy but simplistic Austrian circuit illustrated with frightening clarity the random nature of rac- ing danger. It started in Moto2, when Bastianini fell off near the front, leaving his bike spinning mid-track just over a blind rise. There were many miraculous misses for those following, and only one terrifying hit. It took 30 minutes of scary tension to clear up the mess, and almost as long before it became clear that the misfortunate rider Hafizh Syahrin had escaped serious injury. This was just the curtain- raiser. The subsequent MotoGP race was just eight (out of 28) laps old when an even more hor- rifying scenario unfolded—one with consequences so far reach- ing that it has convincingly been described as "potentially the darkest ever day of racing." Because it came within inches of decapitating Valentino Rossi. It also clarified one huge difference between top-level professional motorcycle racers and the rest of us. The gift of total tunnel vision. The unthink- able suppression of imagination: To continue to believe that "it couldn't happen to me" even when it nearly just did. Of course, risk is inseparable from racing. From motorcycling. It's part of the thrill. But when it nearly goes as wrong as it nearly went in Austria, it's only normal to wonder if it's worth it. And at one's fascination with watching it. Thankfully, human nature takes over. Just a bit quicker for the riders. For example, the ever-amaz- ing Rossi. Had he been collect- ed by either of the two bikes that so, so narrowly missed him and Vinales (spraying him with oil), the consequences don't bear thinking about. The repercus- sions likewise. It was a sobered 41-year-old who returned to his pit. But he shrugged it off, smiling, ready to go out again 20 minutes later, and to finish top Yamaha, with Tunnel Vision And The Racers' View

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