(*No, I don’t look like him. I just sound a bit like him right now.) Although I’ve got to be honest and say it was...

(*No, I don’t look like him. I just sound a bit like him right now.)

Although I’ve got to be honest and say it was a pretty much perfect weekend – or it was in the end, despite a fluffed race start and despite the lack of a whole Quali session… Yes, a pretty damn excellent weekend overall, I cannot let it end without saying how it was almost spoiled as a viewer experience by the sit-in commentary team of James Haydon and Carlton Kirby on Eurosport.
I don’t know exactly *why* Toby and Julian weren’t doing the duties, but one thing is for sure – and that is that TV’s commentary equivalent of a couple of mediocre supply teachers were no kind of worthy substitute.
Ex-racer James Haydon I’m aware of; decent studio talking head and okay on bikesport in general – as for Carlton Kirby (who sounds more like the name of a remote but picturesque Lincolnshire village) well I’ve not really had the pleasure before. And dear crikey, I hope it’s a long time before they’re handed the mikes of our beloved race coverage again.

Pronouncing Alvaro’s name wrong constantly is always going to be a bit of a red rag to me, but I could easily let that go were it not for all the other problems. Clearly Sideshow Bob fans, they seemed barely able to hide / balance their adulation – so whenever he got passed early in the race, they told us he “let them through”. Yeah… Right…
Having said that, they didn’t seem to have much of a handle on who or where anybody was in the early laps anyway and repeatedly misidentified riders and positions.
And having just told us once again (with the aid of the onscreen notices we can all see) that Bati had just done another fastest lap, they suddenly came up with the revelation that he was the “man on the move”. Durh.
And in assessing Simoncelli’s performance they managed to acknowledge that it wasn’t his wrist that had let him down, but his tyre. A bit of slightly more unflinching honesty might have carried that thought all the way through to the fact that *he* let that bloody tyre down.
Their mangling of the art of commentary wasn’t restricted to 250cc either – the top class got a broadside of them; the renaming of Jorge to “George” Lorenzo being the highlight – though he can probably at least take comfort from being on the kind end of their awful clichéd sloganeering: “He may be number 99, but he’ll be giving it 100%!” WTF!

Anyway, rant over. Nothing could spoil today. Bloody good try though.
You can only imagine that this was some very dark piece of humour from Dorna to get back at Eurosport for being so popular as to ruin their BBC exclusivity masterplan… “Okay you can have 2009 coverage, but only if you agree to allow James Haydon and Carlton Kirby to commentate…”
One of the few things I *did* enjoy hearing them say was that Toby and Julian will be back on-air at Jerez.
Thank you Jeebus, thank you!

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