Pedrosa may or may not miss Qatar

I may have mentioned in the past that Dani Pedrosa managed to injure himself during a test session in Qatar in early March, and his presence at the first GP of the season was questionable. Well, it's still questionable: Repsol Honda is saying that it'll all depend on how his healing progresses, and they probably won't know until next week. Honda hasn't been doing all that well this season (Dovizioso was the top Honda rider during Jerez testing in 7th place), and this probably won't help their case if Pedrosa is unable to start at Qatar.

In other MotoGP news, Gibernau's shoulder is healing up, and he should be in fine shape for the start of the season. You may recall that he aggravated his shoulder and missed the night-time testing session in Doha.

The 2009 season gets underway in 5 days (April 10-12).

Australian GP finishing fail

So I finally got a chance to watch the Australian Grand Prix (it's been sitting on my desktop for a few days, and I finally got some spare time). I'd start ranting about the influx of .MKV video files that are popping up on various torrent sites, and how Sony hasn't come out with a method to play .MKV files on the PS3, but that's maybe for a different time and a different post.

Overall, the race was fairly exciting, especially with Button & Barichello starting 1-2 in their Mercedes-powered Brawn GP cars. Defending champ Hamilton was way back in 18th after a gearbox failure during qualifying, and Toyota had some shady goings-on with their rear wings which they were penalized for, forcing both drivers to start the race from the pit lane.

Button led from the start of the race through to the finish, and was never REALLY challenged for the lead. Clearly some good tyre choices, and definitely brilliant engineering of the Brawn car. Barichello ended up finishing in 2nd place after a cock-up between Kubica and Vettel on the 2nd to last lap. Kubica came up alongside Vettel for the pass, Vettel failed to brake properly, Kubica didn't give him much room, and then ended up smashing front ends. I just read on the Malaysian Star that Vettel has been penalized 10 positions for the crash, which will have him starting the Petronas Malaysian GP in 13th position.

The above-mentioned crash (and Vettel's subsequent 1/3 lap with a tyre positioned parallel to the road surface) caused the safety car to be called onto the track, which should've locked in the positions for the remainder of the race, as passing is not permitted behind the safety car. I say "should've", because Trulli managed to get by Hamilton, stealing away 3rd position while the safety car was on the track.

FIA looked into it, found that Trulli did, in fact, pass Hamilton while the safety car was out, and awarded the 3rd position to Hamilton. But then, further investigating led FIA to find that Hamilton lied to them during their original investigation: he told them that Trulli just flew by him, whereas he actually braked to let him by. Radio communication logs show that the McLaren Mercedes pit told Hamilton to slow to let Trulli pass, but the lying is what maddened the big wigs. So in the end, Hamilton was disqualified and received no points, McLaren received no builder points, and Trulli ended up in 3rd after all.

Essentially the only thing that worked out well in the race was Button's win. The rest of the top 3 was decided by crashes, penalties, and governors ... and nobody wants that.

Malaysian Grand Prix is this weekend, and perhaps I'll have a more timely commentary.