Riccardo Russo at full tilt boogie.

Riccardo Russo is one of Italy's top 600cc riders and, until very recently, was leading the Italian CIV championship on a Yamaha Team Italia FMI R6.

Then, at the superfast, flowing Mugello circuit - usually a happy hunting ground for the superbly balanced R6 - he made a rookie mistake that cost him the race, and may have cost him the title.

He forgot to keep an accurate count of how many laps were left.

As Russo swept on to the start-finish straight to begin the final lap of a very hard-fought race, just three bike-lengths ahead of the pack, he must have seen, out of the corner of his eye, the starter unrolling the chequered flag in preparation for the next time round.


Russo immediately assumed the race was finished, let go of the throttle and pumped the air in victory, before standing up on the footpegs to celebrate his win with all the self-congratulatory enthusiasm of Bafana Bafana cheering a goalless draw.

The rest of the field came howling past on their last lap (watch it on the video, it's a humdinger!) leaving a very confused Russo to pick up the pieces of his pride and toddle off to the pits for the inevitable talking-to from the team principal.