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GP Week : Issue 2
17 M oto GP news >> The Spanish Inquisition ... STAND by for an epic Spanish rivalry, as ‘Gorgeous Jorge’ Lorenzo squares up against his new MotoGP rival, countryman Dani Pedrosa. The former is double 250 champion, in his first MotoGP season, and a studied showman who celebrates his race wins with identically dressed doppelgangers and mimed rock concerts. Pedrosa is a double 250 (and 125) champion, in his third MotoGP season, better known for his impassive (ie: unsmiling and gloomy) public face. The two met on the Qatar rostrum, where upstart Lorenzo – who also beat new Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi – stood one step higher than Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa. It was only later that Lorenzo blew the whistle to the Spanish press. Pedrosa had shown “disrespect”, he said, by not only failing to congratulate him on the rostrum, but declining even to meet his eye. “I think I did a good race on my debut, and deserve some credit,” he said, before adding the squelcher: “But it is nothing new. I think it is only a matter of education.” Lorenzo’s own education includes home schooling from childhood in all aspects of how to be a world champion – from riding technique to comportment on the rostrum. His victory displays carry Rossi’s pantomime acts a stage further. Significantly, his racing role model is Max Biaggi, a famous loner who was Rossi’s deadliest enemy. So far, Pedrosa has not responded, being already caught up with criticisms for his own negative comments about team-mate Nicky Hayden’s limitations in setting up a motorcycle … ... while HRC has an inquisition of it’s own 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden is once again riding pillion at the Repsol Honda factory team, which is hampering his chances of saving his place in the team next year by getting good results. At Qatar, Spanish team-mate Dani Pedrosa (an important property for the Spanish sponsors) had a special chassis among the batch of parts and complete 2007 motorcycles flown in from Japan in the week before the race. Pedrosa liked the chassis, and used it to finish third in the race, first Honda home. Nicky slumped to a disgruntled tenth, riding the disinterred 2007 bike. It didn’t even have the livelier state of engine tune he preferred, he said, contrary to earlier suggestions from HRC. “No, just the regular standard engine that pretty much everyone has. I mean, I was flasher than a couple of people in a straight line, but not many – I think third or fourth from the bottom,” he said. The real problem in a race spent battling not to lose more positions was, he said, that: “We obviously, missed the set-up, and just destroyed the rear tyre. And got beat bad. It wasn’t pretty.” Hayden dutifully stopped short of saying he wished he’d had the same chassis as Pedrosa. “I haven’t tried it. They just made one between the test and here. He seems to supposedly think it’s a big step forward, so hopefully I can get one of those for Jerez.” Hayden set fastest time at the Jerez tests, and hopes the return to the Spanish track for the next round will improve his fortunes: “We left there feeling pretty confident. “We have a meeting to talk about it, and so we’ll wait and see. Hopefully things will go a lot smoother. Testing at Jerez things were relatively on pace, but we’ll see how it goes when it counts.”