Belfast Telegraph

Maverick finds happiness again after tough examination

By Billy Weir

If it was Down Under for four-wheeled action, the two-wheelers were down a bit and across to the east as MotoGP also took to the grid for a new season at the weekend.

Things started off in poor visibility and lashing rain, and we wondered if race chiefs had finally included the Larne Grand Prix on their schedule, but no, it turned out we were in Qatar, still shamefully one vowel short.

A few changes here too, and one of them quickly announced himself as Johann Zarco zoomed into an early lead in his first ever race at this level, before things took an unusual turn.

"Out comes the Doctor's dangler," commentator Keith Huewen told us, as we wondered if no one had told Yamaha about the availability of G-Trousers, but thankfully he was talking about Valentino Rossi's habit of trailing his leg on the approach to a corner.

But Zarco wasn't stopping for anyone and Huewen couldn't have been any more excited.

"Great, isn't it, MotoGP? We said it was going to be a good year, that was a guess and that has been confirmed already," he said as the Frenchman stretched his seemingly unassailable lead.

"Arrgh, oh, he's down, down has gone Zarco, the penalty did not fit the crime, the Frenchman has hit the deck, that is a crying shame," said Huewen as the fairytale ended with a bump, or skid in this case.

"I've never wanted a Frenchman to do so well," he added, before he interrupted us rudely again, saying "here comes the Doctor, stuffing in behind the Ducati with that lunchbox under his seat".

As minds boggled we were stopped in our tracks by another spill, this time Andrea Iannone falling, and we hope she is okay, but thankfully a Doctor was on hand as he battled it out with Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales for the top spot.

"Maybe Maverick should throw an apple at him?" Huewen suggested to co-commentator Julian Ryder, who responded with utter silence.

"You're not going with me on that? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" he probed further.

"I was trying to ignore you," came the retort at last, but as Maverick found his happiness again to win and the Doctor had to settle for third, we could satisfy ourselves that this visit to a GP was better than the four-wheeled version.

Belfast Telegraph


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