by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 210
24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Joy abounded at Misano, when Valentino Rossi won his first race at the track nearest his home in five years. Quite rightly. The great man may have had three years marooned in the doldrums, and he may have been all too often outridden by Marquez – but he’s still the most popular of them all, the most recognisable, and the most reliable drawcard for the fans. And not only in Italy. None of that, however, really matters. Except perhaps in commercial terms. Let’s think about the racing. Let’s listen to Rossi himself, in the afterglow: “I am,” he said, “the best Valentino I have ever been. I am riding better than when I won 11 races in a season. The difference now is the competition is younger. And more professional.” He might have added that the bikes and especially the tyres are also very different, for this is the most remarkable aspect of not only this win, but the whole renaissance that began slowly last year, and has gathered strength ever since, for the rider who turned 35 in February. He isn’t required merely to ride ‘better ’ than before. He has had to learn how to ride differently ... to smooth out his braking, to use the throttle differently, to shift his weight differently. All to suit the one-size-fits-all Bridgestones, for back when he was winning 11 races a year (2001, 2002 and 2005, in case you’ve forgotten) it was on Michelin tyres often as not made overnight specifically not just for the track and prevailing conditions, but for Rossi in particular. This is much harder than it sounds – the older you get, the more set in your ways you get. The recently retired double World Superbike champion Colin Edwards illustrates the point perfectly. At 40, he faced an unequal struggle to adapt to the same Open category NGM Yamaha upon which team-mate Aleix Espargaro (aged 24) has qualified on pole, and consistently troubled the lesser Factory bikes. He finally gave up at the first race after the summer break. Earlier in the year, he had explained: “I need to change my riding style but – hell, I’m 40 years old and trying to change my style wasn’t working. Anyway, as soon as you get into an intense moment you go back to your instinct.” Not only Edwards. Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, aged 27, struggled almost in vain for the first half of this season to adapt his style to this year’s harder-construction tyres, and still complains about them at every race. Thus the scale of Rossi’s achievement, ready to win in Misano and to have a damned good go at doing so everywhere else, is that much greater than at first appears. He hasn’t rediscovered his talent – he has developed new talents. He has changed with the times. If it proves nothing else, it at least not only twists the words of an old adage. It also turns it right on its head: In this case, you can teach and old god new tricks. teaching an old god new tricks OPINION OPINION MotoGP MICHAEL SCOTT