In the last couple of Grands Prix there has been a couple of very worthy corner and section naming ceremonies to honour the careers of Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa. Hayden Hill in Austin and the Pedrosa Corner at Jerez are the perfect way to remember just what Nicky and Dani have achieved and their contribution to Grands Prix racing.
There are plenty of other sections and corners named after riders and my favourite is the Stoner corner at Phillip Island. No corner sums up the career of the double World Champion better. High on the cliffs above the windswept Bass Straight with the waves crashing into the rocks below as the Australian with smoke pouring off the rear tyre of the Honda and especially the Ducati round that so fast left-hander. Just close your eyes and you are back there.
There are many corners that I’m sure riders don’t want to remember and certainly would not to be named after them. I’m certain Dani was delighted with the Jerez naming but would not have selected the Parabolica Interior at Estoril where he brought down team-mate Hayden to almost wreck his World title chances in 2006. Andrea Iannone might not be that keen of a plaque being erected on the final corner at Misano after throwing a couple of punches at Pol Espargaro after both ended up in the gravel on the final lap of a 125cc race. I’m sure Alex Barros would rather forget turn one at the Sachsenring after the chance of the very last two-stroke win in the MotoGP™ class disappeared when he clattered into fellow two-stroke campaigner Olivier Jacque to bring them both down with the four-strokes nowhere in sight in 2002.
There was no chance of a naming ceremony for Alex Criville after he brought down local hero Mick Doohan at the last bend of the Australian Grand Prix at Eastern Creek with the chequered flag in sight in 1996. Perhaps Loris Capirossi would have approved of a plaque because it handed him his first premier class victory. Tetsuya Harada would certainly not have suggested a Capirossi naming ceremony in Argentina two years later with perhaps the most controversial and talked about last bend crash in Buenos Aires that finally decided the outcome of the 250cc World Championship after much discussion.
If you have the honour of a corner being named after you it’s important that it does not come back to bite you on the bottom as Jorge Lorenzo found out at Jerez in 2013. Just three days after having the infamous turn 13 that leads into the start and finish straight named after him to honour his world titles, he fell out with his now team-mate Marc Marquez after a ‘coming together’ at his very own corner in a fight for second place.
I wonder if the organisers of the next Grand Prix at Le Mans were preparing a naming ceremony in honour of 20-year-old Frenchman Fabio Quartararo after he became the youngest ever MotoGP™ pole setter at Jerez on Saturday. He looked well on course for a podium finish a day later before being sidelined with mechanical problems. The inscription on the plaque had been delayed but it’s certain to come.