“Too much of a good thing” is an accurate way to describe what director Mark Neale faced as he headed into post-production on Fastest, his latest documentary set in the world of MotoGP roadracing.
The success of his 2006 debut Faster, coupled with the fact that he speaks Spanish shockingly well for a Brit, earned Neale access to thousands of hours of footage in MotoGP promoter Dorna’s archives. He combined that with his own crew’s footage from eight races and two practice days during the 2010 season to create this latest masterpiece.
Fastest deftly blends heart-pounding race footage with an engaging storyline that satisfies and entertains MotoGP zealots and their genteel spouses alike. Key to this is visiting nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi’s hometown, permanently painted yellow and festooned with images of #46. The old woman bemoaning “that little Spaniard” (Jorge Lorenzo) is especially evocative and funny. Fastest is full of great moments like this—many of them rightly involving Rossi. His highly cinematic “hero falling” storyline naturally engages viewers as a perfectly formed piece of classic dramaturgy. But it’s the scenes with Rossi’s good friend Marco Simoncelli that steal the show, as they provide one last look at the fun-loving Italian before his tragic, fatal accident.
Neale is quick to credit his team and the archivists at Dorna for helping to create such an engaging documentary, but as the writer and director, it was his job to keep Fastest on-track. The 78-minute film runs a little long—the relentless edge-of-your-seat action will leave you emotionally exhausted—but even when it’s over, you’ll want to watch it again.