YR. Top Five Bonehead Moves of Top Road Racers

Posted 2/2/2015

Top Five Bonehead Plays of the Pros.

I’ve done the top ten reasons racers crash (page “ZE. Rollin’ and Tumblin’”), which are often the result of a rider error. This is a little different in that it lists five really bonehead moves done by top level road racers. In no particular order we have:

Crashing on the cool-off lap.
In 2009 Alvaro Bautista finished in 3rd place in the 250GP race at Brno, and then looped his Aprillia doing a celebratory wheelie. He ended up sliding on his ass while watching his bike cartwheel down the track, shedding parts and destroying the front end. I imagine Bastista’s team had to deliver his bike to parc ferme for post-race tech in boxes.

Not being able to count to ten.
In 2013 at the Australian MotoGP race at Philip Island tire problems caused the FIM to require riders to pit and switch bikes on lap 9 or lap 10 of the shortened 19 lap race. Bridgestone could not guarantee their tires would last more than that. Racer Marc Marquez stayed out for 11 laps, resulting in his disqualification and ZERO points. His rival Jorge Lorenzo got the win. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2468571/Moto-GP-Australian-Grand-Prix-Marc-Marquez-disqualified.html.

Losing track of the number of laps.
In a typically very close Moto3 race at the 2013 Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, Alex Rins thought he had won the race and started celebrating – sat up, eased off the throttle, did some fist waves, etc. Then about 12 competitors went past him, all in full tuck on full throttle. There was one lap still to go. Doh! Rins realized his error, started racing again but it was too late. He finished 9th instead of a likely 1st or 2nd place podium.

Being in front on the last lap of a “drafting-style” track.
This seldom works out well. Reg Pridmore made this error at the 1976 Daytona Superbike race. He came out of the chicane barely in front of Steve McLaughlin on the last lap. McLaughlin drafted Pridmore through the banking and slingshot past at the finish line to win the race by THREE INCHES. With no transponders in those days the final results had to wait for the photographs – it was literally a photo finish as no one could tell with the naked eye who had taken the win. Sorry no video of this one.

Ignoring the waving yellow and red/yellow “reduced traction” warning flags.
This was another bonehead Marc Marquez move during his rookie MotoGP season. Cal Crutchlow crashed the Tech 3 Yamaha braking for a left turn during practice for the 2013 Silverstone British Grand Prix. Marquez’s bike slid into Crutchlow’s bike while the turn workers were trying to pick it up. They could have been seriously injured but escaped. Marquez had a dislocated collarbone from the incident but no one else was hurt.

There you have it – the top five bonehead mistakes of top-level racers. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed. Feel free to reply to this page if you have similar stories to share.

6 thoughts on “YR. Top Five Bonehead Moves of Top Road Racers

  1. Hey Paul, how about Excessive Red Mist, i.e. when Bautista and Simoncelli bumped and thrashed themselves into the gravel to hand Passini the win at the 250 GP at Mugello in 2009.

  2. Hey Russ, “Excessive Red Mist” is an excellent addition to the list! I’m pretty sure it was Hector Barbera, not Bautista, who was involved in that fray. I remember Barbera’s crew frantically trying to slow him down from his vehement chase after Simoncelli. In Parc Ferme, someone from his crew firmly held Hector’s helmet steady (head still in it), obviously talking the enraged Barbera down to keep him from going over to slug Marco. What a privilege to have seen that race in person!

  3. Despite the recent “winners” from Marc Marquez, my favorite bonehead racer move is still from F1 cars. 1991 Canadian Gran Prix, Nigel Mansell has a 57 second lead in the dominant McLaren in the lead. Nigel slows down to wave at the crowd and STALLS THE ENGINE, throwing away an almost certain win. My wife and I still call any end-of-race-brain-spams “doing a Nigel”.

  4. How about taking out your teammate? Notable examples being Dani Pedrosa taking out points leader Nicky Hayden in the 2006 MotoGP penultimate round and the recent incident wherein Andrea Iannone took out Andrea Dovioso on the final lap of this year’s Round 2 at Argentina! In the former of these two incidents, Nicky nearly lost his title to Valentino Rossi; in the latter, both Ducati riders were in podium positions and Dovi would have been only 1 point short of leading the championship! Some think this may have cost Iannone his job!

  5. Dear Dee, I think your boy was right this time (try not to air it too much, Russ… hehe).
    See here the move described: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNA0Q9XAtyo&feature=youtu.be
    You are probably meaning Barberá being rocketed one year before by Simoncelli.

    I’m having some nice whiles reading the whole blog… which I found accidentally when I was looking for some info about one of the roads Paul was describing in the first chapters of ‘Racing the Gods’.
    I decided to read the blog first, so I can’t wait to soak up the whole content and getting back to the book.

    Much, much, much appreciated, Mr Ritter.

  6. Dear Manuel,
    The incident I referred to was indeed the 2009 Mugello race; however, Russ was correct that it was Bautista, not Barbera, who got punted by Simoncelli and nearly crashed trying to chase him down after. I wrote “nearly crashed”, but I do agree with the commentator who noted, “That WAS a crash – he just never actually hit the ground.” My recollection of the race was very clear, visually, but I remembered the wrong “B” name.
    What a great race that was… good, thing, because we were freezing cold watching from the uncovered bleachers with barely more than saran wrap for rain/wind protection!

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