Jorge Lorenzo in Pit Lane, Valencia
Please click on the above image to view it larger.
If you watched Qualifying from Valencia, you will already know part of the story I’m about to tell: Jorge Lorenzo had qualified third when the checkered flag dropped. Rossi had claimed pole and a fantastic lap by Andrea Iannone had delivered second place on the grid to the Ducati rider.
Having crossed the line just before the flag dropped, however, was Dani Pedrosa.
I was in pit lane, trying to decide if I should head to parc fermé to battle the other photographers for a chance at a usable photo of the Qualifying celebrations. Then I noticed on one of the large monitors that Pedrosa had one more lap.
As the swarm of traffic moved down pit lane toward parc fermé, I stood watching a monitor to see if Pedrosa would upset the current standings. As those who frequent this site may know, I find it difficult to be impartial when it comes to certain riders, Pedrosa being one MotoGP rider of whom I am un unabashed supporter. I was hoping he would do something special, and this created a slightly odd feeling for me. It seemed I was the only one who was watching the screen to see if the front row might change at the last moment.
Of course it wasn’t true that I was the only one watching intently. Many eyes were glued to monitors, those in the Yamaha and Ducati boxes especially.
When Pedrosa crossed the line to claim third, Lorenzo’s team, absolute professionals all, accepted the result as a fact of life and started preparing the box for the return of their rider and his M1. They put in place the work table upon which the ridden bike would receive its post-session maintenance, and waited. Then someone realized that Lorenzo might in fact be in parc fermé. So two members of his team hustled in that direction to help him get back to the box.
I elected against going there myself, because it was much too late at this point to get a spot. Now that we photographers have been banished to the odd end of parc fermé, one must arrived early, four or five minutes before the session ends, to get a decent spot. Otherwise you’re behind a row of photographers that is several folks deep all the way across.
So I decided to wait at Lorenzo’s box, thinking I might get a good portrait showing his disappointment. I got more than I’d bargained for.
Pedrosa having taken away his third place, and having shut off the bike’s engine, Lorenzo needed a push back to his box. When he arrived, it got a bit ugly.
To explain, and please bear with me if you already know what I’m talking about, the pit lane at this Valencia is a bit unusual in that there are spectator areas just above it. I expect it requires some sort of VIP pass to get there, but you may have noticed this track feature on TV or in other images:
Every other time I’d worked in pit lane last weekend, and indeed at Valencia in the past, the fans overhead have minded their manners in the spirit of those who enjoy, appreciate and value motorbike racing. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience with a fans at Valencia. (Unlike, say, Assen, Sachsenring, Jerez, Mugello, Phillip Island… I’ll stop there.)
Just as Juan and Javier (two of Lorenzo’s mechanics) arrived with their rider, a fan sitting above the Movistar Yamaha box began shouting insults at Lorenzo. I don’t speak much Spanish, but I think the word ‘idiota’ means just what it sounds like to English speakers. Indeed, I’m a bit nervous reporting this incident given that I could not translate much more of what was being shouted at Lorenzo. I’m relying on the derisive tone of the jeers and the reactions of the rider and his team. And I do believe that ‘idiota’ represented the theme of the commentary.
Continues on the next page: