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Page last updated at 20:31 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 21:31 UK

Matt Roberts' MotoGP round-up

By Matt Roberts
BBC Sport, Assen

"My name is Earl" actor Jason Lee
Colin, Earl knows just how you feel

Having heard this weekend that actor Jason Lee will be coming to Laguna Seca to watch MotoGP next month, it struck me after watching Saturday's race that he should have come to Assen and filmed an entire episode of 'My Name is Earl'.

Motorcycle racing, you see, is all about karma.

In the very spot where, two years ago, Colin Edwards dropped his Yamaha to hand victory on a plate to his fellow American Nicky Hayden, the Kentucky Kid ran out of fuel and could only watch as Edwards blasted past to snatch third spot.

"What is it they say? What goes around comes around, he who laughs last, laughs loudestů whatever," grinned Colin after the race.

Nicky, it seems, is more cynical when it comes to the question of fate, and who can blame him?

"I'm not bitter but Colin's downfall here was his own fault, mine was caused by a guy pressing the wrong buttons on a computer," he fumed.


Fortune's fickle finger had actually been busy picking out victims all weekend, with Loris Capirossi the first to feel it scratch as early as Thursday afternoon.

After missing Donington with a broken hand, the Italian returned to action here but a huge crash in practice left him with a deep hole in his right forearm, which required surgery.

Ben Spies, who deputised admirably at Donington, was offered the ride but opted out - deciding that trying to learn Assen in the wet with just one day of practice would be too much of a risk ahead of wildcard appearances at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, especially with a test scheduled for Indy next week.

But it was still a strange decision and it didn't go down well at Suzuki.

With only 16 riders starting Saturday's race, he turned down the chance of virtually guaranteed points but, more importantly, if he is planning to ride their bike in MotoGP next year, as widely expected, then a few laps around this notoriously tricky circuit would have given him a head start.

That invariably raises the question of whether he has a deal signed somewhere else for 2009.


Either way, Ben will be back in the saddle at Laguna but John Hopkins can only hope he is fit for the race after suffering a broken bone in his left ankle and two tibia fractures in a 150mph crash during qualifying on Friday.

Lon Chaney as "The Mummy"
Ok Hopper, we believe it's you under the bandages

Hopkins - who is Anglo-American - is almost certainly out of the next round in Germany, continuing a rotten run of luck since joining Kawasaki at the end of last season.

A crash during preseason testing in January left him living up to his 'Hopper' nickname, as he suffered one of the most eye-watering injuries I've ever heard of, tearing 50% per cent of his groin from the bone.

Unsurprisingly he was still limping when the season started but he battled on until round three in Shanghai, when he was knocked off by Alex De Angelis and had his knee punctured by his own footpeg.

His bravery was not rewarded when he turned out for the next race at Le Mans, where his chain broke, before a problem with his gear shifter caused him to crash out of the race at Mugello at high speed.

Another free practice crash just days later at Catalunya left him with a fractured vertebrae, and after battling through the pain of that to finish 10th in the race, a hospital scan revealed a broken hip - suffered in that monster high-side back at Phillip Island.

At Donington, he was forced wide and left trailing by James Toseland's crash in turn one, then after catching the field and making his way up to 13th, his bike packed in with an electrical fault.

On the plus side, he got married at the start of the year.


At least if John does miss out at Laguna he'll have plenty more opportunities to race there, following this weekend's announcement by MotoGP rights holders Dorna that they have extended their contract with the Californian circuit until 2014.

The US Grand Prix attracted more than 140,000 fans in 2007, and this year's event comes up in just a couple of weeks.

The schedule includes support races from AMA Superbike and Supersport as well as the Red Bull US Rookies Cup, making it a great start to a west coast holiday should you still be looking for a last-minute escape from the British summer!


After the excitement of Scott Redding's debut victory in the 125cc race at Donington last weekend, we thought we were in for back-to-back British success at Assen as Bradley Smith streaked into a dominant lead.

Otis Redding
Otis Redding - exhausted, like Scott

Unfortunately the power of providence was on show again, and not in a good way.

After rain played into Bradley's hands at Le Mans earlier in the season, helping him to an unlikely podium chance, things were levelled out when the heavens opened again and sent him skidding into the gravel.

Thankfully he was able to restart and finish a five-lap sprint in a creditable fifth place on his second bike.

But Scott Redding went from hero to zero points due to an exhaust problem.


Karma's final act at Assen was dedicated to those people who booed Casey Stoner at Donington last Sunday.

The Australian produced another 'boring' performance by blasting the rest of the field into the weeds, which may not make for the most exciting racing but you can't blame the kid for that.

He's just trying to be a better rider. His name is Casey.


see also
Stoner storms to Dutch MotoGP win
28 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
As it happened - Dutch MotoGP
28 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP on the BBC
07 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
08 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes


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