My old News Editor used to drum two facts into us raw recruits – all news is good news and never spoil a good story with the facts. I’m not sure about either of them now and certainly not the first one after the goings on at Misano last Sunday.
Suddenly MotoGP™ was on the radar of the national media and they certainly milked it. Romano Fenati’s disgraceful act at Misano was flashed round the world on video and photographs in seconds. My usual Sunday evening snooze was interrupted by video of the incident on the national television news that had ignored Cal Crutchlow’s Grand Prix victories a couple of years ago. In the morning my favourite daily newspaper that could not offer a column inch in its massive sports section when Marc Marquez clinched the title last November, gave half a page of photographs to show their readers just what had happened in the Moto2™ race. Even in my local pub where the main topic of conversation is usually football and Formula One, Fenati’s action were top of the list.
We have to accept and certainly in this part of the world, to get MotoGP™ in the evening news or in the sports sections of the Daily Newspapers there has to be more than just a racing angle. Of course, it makes me so angry but I’ve had to learn to accept it. It just does not matter if we had the closest finish and sensational race in the 69-year history of Grand Prix racing, its Rossi not shaking hands with Marquez or his problems with the Italian tax authorities that will excite the news desks.
It’s always been the same story. Back in the seventies it was the front page revelation about the romantic liaison between Barry Sheene and Stephanie at the Kobenzl hotel on the eve of the Austrian Grand Prix that made the headlines. Understandably the tragic deaths of TT legend Joey Dunlop and Marco Simoncelli have received massive and deserved coverage. The alleged coming together of Rossi and Max Biaggi on the steps of the Barcelona podium and years before those massive fall outs between Phil Read and his team-mates Bill Ivy and Giacomo Agostini that have excited the media.
I’m afraid we have to accept it because it’s all part of the game, but it’s a double-edged sword. If we want more coverage bringing more interest and investment into the sport, we have to accept and in some cases even encourage these outside of the box angles. But there has to be strict boundaries. Going into the Aragon race this Sunday I think I would go back to my Mum’s favourite piece of advice when I was setting out of my life’s travels. She told me that no news is good news and I think we’d all stick with that this weekend in Spain.