Sunday, July 18, 2010


Remember our prediction that Rossi might be out for the rest of the season? Yeah, um, scratch all that

Not only did Valentino Rossi not sit out the rest of the season after the broken leg he suffered several weeks ago, he returned ahead of schedule to take fourth place at the Sachsenring this weekend. The deity of motorcycle road racing duked it out fiercely for most of the second half of the race with a determined Casey Stoner, who knocked Rossi off the podium in the final corner of the final lap of the race. Dani Pedrosa took first, followed by Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo in second.

The Superbike Blog is both happy and astonished to see Rossi bounce back so quickly, and looks forward to enjoying the rest of the MotoGP season with Rossi on the grid. This is the kind of grit and determination that separates the champions from the rest of the pack, as Rossi has demonstrated over and over again throughout his career.

A few ofthe interesting post-race quotes from team press releases:
CASEY STONER: "In the first part of the race I didn't have such a good feeling and I was doing everything I could to stay with Dani and Jorge but tenth by tenth they were pulling away from me. So, for the second part of the race we changed to a tyre we'd already used yesterday and I immediately found more grip and was able to run faster lap times. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get past Dovi at the start so the front two opened a gap and by the time I got up to third place they were gone. We saw in the first race that Valentino's pace was a little better than ours and that proved to be the case again in the second race. He was taking big chunks of time out of me and to be honest once he got past I didn't think I'd be able to follow. I tried really hard to stay in there and we had a good battle with a lot of nice passes. I tried one last time at the bottom of the hill, where he tried to close the line on me but I was already there. We touched but it was a good, clean fight and I'm just pleased to come away with a podium. We had hoped to be a little closer to the front here but we're happy with this."

ROSSI: "I didn't expect this! I thought it was maybe possible to make fourth or fifth place but I thought it would be very difficult. In the end I was fourth but I had a great battle with Casey and I was so close to the podium, so this is a fantastic result after missing four races. I need some more kilometres to really recover the feeling and feel completely okay with the bike again, but I think I did a great job and this was a very good comeback, better than we could wish for. I felt a bit of pain in my shoulder but more in the leg when changing direction, but at the end the battle with Casey was such fun that I didn't think about it. Unfortunately though he just got the better of me on the last corner! Thanks to all my team for helping me come back and be competitive like this, we will try to do even better in Laguna."


Ever notice there's no advertising on the Superbike Blog? The Motorcyclist Magazine debacle exemplifies exactly why

Since its inception in mid-2004, I have consistently refused and resisted opportunities to monetize the Superbike Blog. Why? Because this blog is simply a place where I, like a zillion other knuckleheads on the Internet, spew my various opinions and revelations about my own personal interests. Sometimes I spread my loves and adorations, sometimes I rant and rail against things I disagree with. Some months I post like mad. Other months I completely neglect this blog and do other things. The point is, I'm free to do mostly whatever I want here, and I don't have to answer to advertisers about my various and sundry blogging practices. Such is very much by design. The Superbike Blog continues to be popular among its niche readers, and I see no reason to bring in any outside influences in the form of advertisers.

A perfect example of why I have maintained this policy is the current shame being brought down upon Motorcyclist Magazine and its editor Brian Catterson. According to Jalopnik, Catterson, on behalf of Motorcyclist, fired freelance writer Dexter Ford because of a 100-percent true article he wrote for the New York Times. What's the problem, you ask? Several of Motorcyclist's big-money advertisers didn't like how the article in question made them look, and allegedly threatened to pull their ads from the already struggling moto rag.

After his firing, Ford leaked a series of emails in which Catterson admits that the advertisers were calling the shots:
The emails, which Ford confirmed for us are the real thing, include an apparent assertion by Motorcyclist editor-in-chief Brian Catterson that major helmet makers threatened to withdraw advertising in his magazine due to Ford's New York Times piece. That same email then quotes Catterson as saying, "Iʼm getting serious heat over this, to the tune of threatening my job unless I do something about you." (September 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM)

If true, the emails raise troubling questions about a potentially unethical relationship between advertising dollars and editorial content at the popular magazine, one that stretches beyond mere motorcycle reviews and appears to include reporting on the safety of children's helmets.

You can find the complete leaked email exchange on
The fact that sister magazines Motorcyclist and Sport Rider have long capitulated to the pressures thrust upon them by their advertisers is common knowledge among those of us who follow the industry. For this reason, I stopped subscribing years ago. Oddly, Motorcyclist's publishing house, Source Interlink, is now sending me free subscriptions to Sport Rider, Motorcyclist, and even Hot Bike as they apparently attempt to drum up interest in the struggling titles. I'll be glad to take them for free, but I refuse to pay actual money for any magazine that's already payed for with 50-plus percent advertising content by the time it gets to my mailbox. With that many ads, Motorcyclist's web of alliances is plainly entangled, and it can no longer be viewed as objective in its reviews and editorial. Quotes like the following one from the leaked emails bolster my point loudly:
"None of that matters to the brass when two of our biggest advertisers are threatening to yank their ads over a story a freelancer wrote for another publication when we're down $2 mil from last year!"
For the complete story, click here. For the complete thread of leaked emails between Catterson and Ford, click here to download them as a single PDF.


A midnight ride through Midland, Texas

I'm not gonna lie: Living in Midland, Texas kinda sucks sometimes. It is a boring, uptight little town in the middle of the Permian Basin sand, characterized by high taxes and low self-esteem. There's no real reason to even come to Midland, unless you just got a job in the energy industry and were relocated here.

That said, I -- for some reason I cannot rationally explain -- continue to live here. And as a professional artist and musician with a penchant for motorcycling, lets just say I have my work cut out for me. Still, I manage to do pretty well here, and that does provide me with some pretty unique opportunities to experience Midland in ways other residents might not think of.

For example, last night around 11 o'clock as my wife settled into bed, I put on my riding gear, rolled the Z-Rex out of the garage, and took a slow, quiet ride around the more upscale residential areas of town. For about an hour or so, I made the rounds, enjoying the 70-odd degree night air and complete absence of people or traffic. It was literally like having a city all to myself.

I passed by well-groomed yards accented with Malibu lights and such, some alongside city parks with manmade ponds and illuminated fountains. At night, you don't see the dirt lots and frequently brown-tinged skies visible in the daytime, and you sort of forget where you are. It was a nice ride, very nice indeed.

By the time I got home, I felt much better about living out here in BFE, and took a few moments to stand in the driveway with the garage open, staring up at the starry sky. Yes, my relationship with this town is very much one of love-hate, but I guess I'll stay a while longer. To paraphrase a line from a movie, I guess this is about as good a place as any; at least for the moment.