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Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 16:36 UK
Donington - 20-22 June, 2008



British MotoGP, Donington
Date: Sunday, 22 June
Race live (Sunday): BBC Two, Five Live and BBC Sport website, 1415-1600 MotoGP Extra: Sunday, BBCi and BBC Sport website, 1600-1630

Julian Shea
BBC Sport at Donington

Huddling beneath umbrellas to shelter from the wind and rain, warming your hands round cups of tea as the breath appears before you when you speak... it could only be the great English summer.

When the organisers of the British MotoGP set the race for the weekend of the longest day of the year, they were probably hoping the sun would make an appearance in the Donington sky at some point.

James Toseland
Toseland gets down and dirty at Donington after another spill
But unbroken cloud and drizzle all day on Saturday dictated that instead of the usual summer display of sunburnt flesh and questionable tattoos, it was fleeces and waterproofs all round.

At least that was good news for the merchandise sellers - along with the presence of home favourite James Toseland on the grid.

"Toseland stuff is by far the biggest seller, he's even outselling Valentino Rossi," merchandising stall manager Luigi Pammozzo told BBC Sport.

"I've been doing Donington for 20 years and this year is going to be better than most because of him.

"The biggest seller is the Toseland flags - we've only got a few thousand of them left and they're going to sell out pretty quickly."

One of those flags was already fluttering from the tent of Fiona Ray, along with an Isle of Man flag.

She had come over from the island for the weekend with her husband and two children to support their local hero from the vantage point at Craner Curves.

"This is the first time we've come away to watch," she said.

"He lives four or five miles up the road from us so I'd love to see him do well but I think it will be Casey Stoner or Valentino Rossi who wins."

606: DEBATE
While the Ray family may be making their first visit, Norwegian bike fan John Skjeie is something of a Donington veteran.

"This is my fourth time here because it's easy to get to and I love England," he stated.

"Bike racing is not big back home but I know there are a few of us who have come over.

"I used to race myself and I'm here to watch a young Norwegian in one of the rookie competitions - I used to be his mechanic."

In the main feature, however, there was one person he was particularly keen to see.

"It's Rossi, of course," he said.

"Casey looks very strong, he has been going incredibly fast, but Rossi has won here before from bad qualifying positions. If it rains on race day, anything can happen."

While John and the Ray family watched from the slopes in the centre of the track, the privileged few got to see things up close and personal in the pit-lane.

And one particularly interested spectator in the garages was Aston Villa and England goalkeeper Scott Carson.

When I play football, everyone looks at me but now it's my turn to look at the likes of Toseland and Rossi

Villa keeper Scott Carson
"I've liked motocross bikes since I was young, but in the last few years I've really got into roadbikes and superbikes - it's great to come here," he told BBC Sport.

But as keen a fan as he may be, Carson admits that for the time being, standing and staring is as close as he can get to a motorbike.

"It's in my contract that I'm not allowed to ride bikes but I'd love to - if I fell off, that could be the end of my footballing career, so it's not worth it," he added.

"When (Newcastle striker) Alan Smith and I get together with England, we talk about bikes a lot - I'm surprised he's not here today."

Smith has already been seen on the MotoGP circuit this year, camping out with his friends at Le Mans and Carson said he was following his lead.

He said: "We're supposed to be camping out but it depends on the weather - I don't know if we can get the tent up!"

Footballers are usually notoriously bad watchers of the game.

But as someone used to the scrutiny of playing sport at the highest level, Carson said it was nice to be a spectator this weekend.

"When I play football, everyone looks at me but now it's my turn to look at the likes of Toseland and Rossi," he commented.

"They're probably thinking 'What's he looking at?' - but that's how I feel sometimes in football!"




see also
Stoner storms to Donington pole
21 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Practice pace encourages Toseland
20 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
All geared up for Donington
20 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
James Toseland Q&A
20 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
18 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Can Toseland fly the flag?
09 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Toseland frustrated by conditions
04 May 08 |  Motorbikes
The team behind James Toseland
27 Apr 08 |  Motorsport


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